London Here We Come
Wheelchair Basketball fans jammed the OR Tambo arrivals lounge in October to welcome home a triumphant Sasol South Africa Wheelchair Basketball team.
Marcus Retief (Captain), Samuel van Niekerk, Kobus Oeschger, Justin Govender, Cecil Dumond, Siphamandla Gumbi, Marius Papenfus, Thandile Zonke, Luvuyo Mbanda, Stuart Jellows, Jaco Velloen and Richard Nortje returned unbeaten from the African Paralympic qualifiers in Morocco, despite a nail-biting 63-62 victory over Egypt in their first match of the tournament.
With only one place up for grabs at the London 2012 Paralympics the Amawheelaboyz took no chances in the remaining games. They beat Morocco 68-54 and Nigeria 72-34 before thrashing Morocco again in the finals 83-54, reserving their place at the London 2012 Paralympics.
The Paralympic Team are proudly partnered by Mercedes Benz, Nedbank, National Lottery, Pick n Pay, Sasol, Sun International, Telkom, the Department of Sport and Recreation and Vodacom.
Night of the Stars
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa's (WTSA) super stars, Kgothatso Montjane and Lucas Sithole were recently named South Africa's 2011 Sports persons of the Year, in the disabled category. Montjane served her ace against swimmers Natalie du Toit and Emily Gray whilst Sithole had to cross the line ahead of athletes Hilton Langenhoven and Samkelo Radebe.
Directorof WTSA, Holger Losch, said "We are so pleased that our star athletes have been recognized. We congratulate them on being among a handful of South African athletes who have been acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to sport in our country."
WTSA has80 players with world rankings - more than any other nation.
The event was hosted by The honourable Minister of Sports and Recreation, Mr FikileMbalula, in partnership with SASCOC and the North West Government.
Barry van der Merwe has competed in waterskiing since the age of ten. When he was 18 an accident during a race led to thepermanent disability of his right arm. He thought his competition days were over! He discovered the World Disabled Waterski Championships by chance, on the internet, and started competing again taking 2nd place in the Slalom division in Belgium (2005) and winning his division in Australia (2007). Then he was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2009. The doctor gave him the go-ahead and he took 2nd place once again. This year, the competition was held in the USA. His slalom prelim did not go well, only managing 3rd but he also competed in Tricks finishing 2nd. Says Barry: "The competitors are a great group of people who do not let their disabilities affect their quality of life. I am always humbled by the support and camaraderie of this community of skiers."
SA Wheelchair Rugby (SAWCR) is proud to announce its association with SA Rugby who have authorized an adminand development office for SAWCR at Vodacom Loftus in Pretoria. One of SAWCR's goals is to develop Wheelchair Rugby in all communities in Africa to provide improved quality of life for people living with more severe disabilities. South Africacompetes in the Asia Oceania zone, the most competitive Wheelchair Rugby Zonein the world with teams such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and Korea.
International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) representative, Mr Terry Vinyard, recently visited to assess South Africa's suitability for hosting international events, such as the 2013 Oceania IWRF Zone Championship. People with severe disabilities, therapists