Wheelchair Tennis Women's Team Clinches Place in BNP World Cup
With the weight of an expectant nation on their shoulders, three of South Africa's top wheelchair tennis athletes did the nation proud at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup qualifying competition in Nairobi, Kenya. Top ranked players, Mabel Mankgele, Rose van der Meer and Celia du Toit won the women's event and secured a place at the World Team Cup to be held in Seoul, Korea in May.
Day one saw team South Africa rise victoriously over Kenya. Van der Meer met Jane Ndenga in the singles and triumphed superbly, winning 6-0 6-0. In the second singles of the day, Du Toit clashed with Rahael Akoth securing yet another straight 6-0 6-0 victory for the SA team. The doubles team of van der Meer and Mankgele was no different; they beat Ndenga and Akoth 6-0 6-0!
On Day three the Rainbow Nation produced a clinical performance against neighbouring Zimbabwe. In the singles, Van der Meer dropped just a solitary game against Dorcas Hwatira winning 6-0 6-1 and Du Toit clinched a 6-0 6-0 white wash against Moline Muza. In the doubles, Du Toit and Mankgele paired-up to deal a crushing blow to Muza and Hwatira, winning 6-0 6-0.
Coach Hennie de Klerk commented: "Our women showed their class with a 3-0 away victory over both Kenya and Zimbabwe. All the ladies put in dominant performances with stunning victories over our African counterparts. Our win has put us in a great position for the upcoming World Team Cup, but we have months of grueling practice ahead before we're ready to face the world's top teams."
The women join the men, quads and junior who have qualified for Seoul.
Durban sizzled at the end of March and not just from the incredible heat! Competitors, coaches, managers, family and friends came to the scintillating shores of the Indian Ocean to do battle and glory in hotly contested events at the 2012 Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled.
A huge round of applause to the Local Organising Committee and their Chair, Braam Mouton. From opening ceremony to closing the event was run like a well-oiled ship with exceptional venues and accommodation making it a shining example for future Nedbank Champs. Congratulations also to Hetsie Veitch and her team on the smooth running of classifications.
In operation since 1962 the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled is celebrating fifty years of service to athletes - and Durban did them proud. Perhaps it was Andy Scott's announcement, that Nedbank was pledging a R2,500 congratulatory award to participating athletes and officials if they were subsequently selected by SASCOC to participate in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, that spurred the athletes on - with African and South African records piling up. In powerlifting the South African record was broken twice by Clifford Martin -only to have his record snatched away minutes later by Thabo Phahlamohlaka, who had failed in his previous lift!
Spectators who took the long road to the lovely UKZN Westville Campus were privileged to see true grit in action. Sharitha Baboolal of R. P. Moodley School for learners with Disabilities shared her experience there:
Beads of perspiration and intense concentration, coupled with dreaded involuntary j erks at crucial moments - all part of the highly competitive sport - took its toll on athletes vying for the coveted gold medal to bring honour to theirprovince. All forms of strategy, skill, and mind games were the order of the day as athletes challenged their opponents to get to the coveted jack ball. The three-day event culminated in a medal ceremony where Gauteng emerged the overall winner, taking away the trophy from reigning champions Kwa Zulu Natalwho held the title for the past six years.
National Boccia Convener Nishla Maharaj hosted six provinces at the University of KwaZulu Natal (Westville Campus), an excellent venue that accommodated nine courts. Her superb organizational skills deservedly won her the trophy for Best Convened Code in the championships. Nishla highlighted some Boccia development needs including: opportunities for disadvantaged athletes in remote areas toplay, financial support and reaching out to local areas to make sure athletes can take part close to home. Boccia continues to lobby for private company involvement and financial support as seen with the immense development the Murray and Roberts funding has generated.
Visitors who witnessed the Boccia did not leave without a change of mindset regarding the phenomenal ability of these athletes. Awareness of this sport can only be the beginning journey that leads us to a world that recognizes ability rather than disability."
The following unofficial records were available at the time of going to print:
Joelene KÃhn: U14, T2, 800m Tricycle - 2:23.29 - SA
Joelene KÃhn: U14, T2, 1500m Tricycle - 4:58.75 - SA
Christian Sadie: U16, C4, 500m Bicycle - 0:50.21 - SA
Dylan da Silva: U20, C4, 4000m Bicycle - 6:46.12 - SA
Thabo Phahlamohlaka: 110kgs - SA
JohannesMatthsen: 135kgs - SA
Mandla Nkota:160kgs - SA
Anna Mokohosa, F36, 5.82m - Africa
FabianMichaels, F35, 10.79m - Africa
ReginnaldBenade, F36, 12.33 - Africa
Chenelle van Zyl, F35, 24.37m - Africa
Jean Pienaar, F46, 39.79m - Africa
Elizabeth Lekhele, F46, 3.67m - Africa
Johanna Benson, F37, 3.79m - Africa
Mbali Madondo, F46, 3.52m - Africa
Chenelle van Zyl, 100m, T35, 19.85 - Africa
Pieter de Preez, 100m, T 51, 23.30 -Africa
Rachel Selopyana, 100m, T36, 18.42 - Africa
Rachel Selopyana, 200m, T36, 41.44 - Africa
James Bezuidenhout, S9, U16, 50m F - 31,15 - SA
James Bezuidenhout, S9, U16, 400m F - 5.15,41 - SA
Nkosi Dludlu, S7, 200m F - 3.43,46 - SA
Nkosi Dludlu, S7, 50m Br - 1.15,17 - SA
Nkosi Dludlu, S7, 200m IM - 4.52,76 - SA
Nkosi Dludlu, S7, 100m Br - 2.47,53 - SA
Quinton Harris, S3, 50m Br - 1.15,80 - SA
Quinton Harris, S3, 100m Br - 2.51,53 - SA
Charl Parkin, S9, 800m F - 12.04,38 - SA
Joshua Grob, S8,50m Ba - 45,84 - SA
Joshua Grob, S8, 200m Ba - 3.42,04 - SA
Thulane Mabusa, S10, 200m Ba 3.58.67 - SA
Johann van Heerden, S10, 200m Ba - 3.01,07 - SA
Johann van Heerden, S10, 50m Ba - 35,67 - SA
Johann van Heerden, S9, 50m Br - 35,91 - SA
Johann van Heerden, S9, 200m Br - 3.02,77 - SA
Achmat Hassiem, S10, 50m Bu - 27,33 - SA
Achmat Hassiem, S10, 100m Bu - 59,72 - SA
Mduduzi Sibanda, S8, 200m IM - 4.22,57 - SA
Mduduzi Sibanda, S7, 200m Br - 4.51,35 - SA
Patricia Ings, S6, 200m IM - 6.53,27 - SA
Tezna Abrahams S9, U16, 50m F - 33,92 - SA
Tezna Abrahams SB9, U16, 100m Br - 1.43,19 - SA
Tezna Abrahams S10, U16, 400m F - 6.24,07 - SA
Tezna Abrahams S10, U16, 100m Bu - 1.43,18 - SA
20 years ago 20 year-old JP (Jan-Paul) Lugt was studying at Stellenbosch University for a BComm and playing hooker for the university rugby team. During a hostel rugby game he clashed with the opposing team's hooker in a scrum andhe dislocated his neck (C3/4).
No one realised what had happened - but one of the props, a third year medical student, saw that JP wasn't breathing and gave him mouth-to-mouth.
JP woke up in hospital, concerned about a university test he been studying for. It took three months for reality to sink in - his quadriplegia was permanent.
After two years at the Eric Miles Cheshire Home, Milnerton, JP returned to Stellenbosch to complete his BComm. There he met his future wife, Joey and they married soon after JP completed his studies.
"It's not easy having a quad for a husband. My wife is an incredible person - she is a great strength and support. We stopped using a carer 10 years ago. Joey helps get me ready in the morning and it gives us an opportunity to chat and communicate - it's nice just being the two of us - we also feel freer."
JP praises his wonderful mother, family and friends who did so much to enable him to live and study independently. He also speaks very highly of the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players' Fund.
"The fund has been wonderful. They provided my first electric wheelchair and ramps to get me into the minibus; my special ripple mattress and bed to prevent pressure sores and a Jaygel cushion for my wheelchair. Recently, I saw Mobility One advertising their Permobil C300 in Rolling Inspiration. I spoke to the Players' Fund and I now have that Rolls Royce of wheelchairs!! It tilts so that I can change body positions and has made a huge difference in how I run my business and my life! I can answer the phones, use the remotes for opening the gates andthe garage, and work at my computer."
"The Players' Fund have even taken care of the little things such as batteries and new tyres for my wheelchair. They do incredible work - not just in supportingus but also in education and prevention and ensuring that injured players get the very best medical care possible, and decreasing the time to receiving medical care by having the medics on site at rugby games. I would especially like to thank the trustees who freely give of their time."
JP would love to see more quadriplegics building their own businesses. When JP and Joey discovered they were going to be parents, JP gave up corporate life and turned his olive hobby into a lucrative business. In addition to olive products JP's company, The Olive Grove, distribute Marinated Sundried Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Pickled Brinjals, Wedgewood Nougats and Bandito Chili sauces - providing employment for seven people.
10th annual Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in George
Having only recently acquired my hand cycle I was feeling a bit apprehensive (as well as excited) about participating in this race, especially as I had only had 3 weeks training preparation in the lead up to the race.
The race day dawned sunny and clear and, as we lined up at the start, the thought of not finishing the race was not an option! I had 21 kms ahead of meto complete. As I got into a rhythm I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the mountain backdrop, clear skies and scorching sun - all while counting down the kilometres.
There were times when I had to grit my teeth, with shortness of breath and the burning sensation in my arms and shoulders, but I had to keep going.
As I crossed the finish line it was the first time in 12 years that I truly felt like I had accomplished something. The feeling of absolute joy and happiness could be seen on my face a mile away. It was an amazing feeling - being able to compete in a sport after so many years.
Not only did I finish the race in 1h 15m but, much to my surprise at the prize giving, it was announced that I had placed first in my class!
A big thanks to QASA for their involvement, as always, and thanks again to my family and friends and to everyone who has supported me, I am forever in your debt. - Jeffrey Yates