Leon Fleisher has been a favourite of wheelchair basketball fans for years. A T8 paraplegic, Leon will be jetting off to London in July to look after our Olympic athletes. He shares below some specifics of his job.

As SASCOC's London Olympic Games Manager: Athlete Services I am responsible for allactivities that relate to the athlete; this includes monitoring their preparation qualification process, knowing where they are at all times in thelead up to the games and ensuring that they are taken care of with medical and scientific support. Athlete services monitors the injury status of athletes and keeps medical personnel appraised of this. We provide the motivations for selection of athletes and officials to the SASCOC board for approval. We gather athlete profiles for our team handbook and assist with getting athletes to sponsor and media events.

We also provide the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport with the names of athletes sothey can be tested prior to departure for London.

Athlete services also ensures that all competition clothing is correct and in line withthe IOC and International Federation guidelines for the games.

The most critical role is the sport entries, an online LOCOG system to enter qualified athletes and teams into the respective events they have qualified for. This is critical, as you definitely don't want to enter an athlete into the wrong event. Once this is done we provide adaily participation schedule for our media and guests across all the sports we are participating in.

Once the games are on we summarise each day's results and update event schedules for the next day as athletes qualify in their respective events.

Sixth Paralympic Games

Mostpeople aim for two or maybe three Paralympic games in their sporting careers. Ernst van Dyck and Tadhg Slattery are competing for a sixth time at the London2012 Games. For Chef de Mission, Pieter Badenhorst, the games will also be his sixth visit, three as an athlete and three as management.

41year-old Badenhorst is the first person with a disability, since the mergerwith SASCOC, to serve in this prestigious post.

Pieter was only five years old when he and his brothers discovered some rope lying on the ground after a heavy storm the previous night. Being the inquisitive type he picked one up, and 22,000 volts of electricity surged through his little body. Fortunately the current flung him away, but not before he had sustained severe injuries including the loss of his left arm at the shoulder, his right arm just below the elbow and internal injuries that still dictate a carefuldiet.

Pieter, who has been involved with sport for the disabled since 1981, is ecstatic atbeing named Chef de Mission. It is a fantastic privilege to be chosen. The Paralympic Games have been a huge highlight in my life, first as a competitorand now as management.â

Pieter competed at the 1992 Barcelona, Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) games but it was at Barcelona that he took the gold in the 400m (TS3) and silver in the 200m (TS3). Having been an athlete myself I have an idea what athletes need so Iwill concentrate on that and then our athletes can concentrate on theirevents.

Our sixth place finish in Beijing was fantastic and it is something that we would ideally like to replicate. It is however notoriously difficult to predict medals and places on medal tables. Programme changes will affect the number of medal events, and countries like Russia and Brazil have invested heavily in Paralympic sport. We have a good balance of older, experienced athletes, who have delivered in the past, and exciting new athletes that we believe will dowell. For future games we would like to increase the number of sports that qualify including Boccia, Goalball, Shooting, Archery, Wheelchair Rugby and 7-a-Side Soccer.

Fellow Quinquagenarians

In the year that the SA Sports Association (SASAPD) celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is fitting that it congratulates Rolling Inspiration on their 50th issue. May you continue to act as the beacon in communicating with people who have mobility impairments.

The 2012 London Paralympic Games are over just a month away. Wow, I can still remember saying goodbye to Beijing - seems like just days ago! It is not surprising to find the SASAPD athletes chosen for London fully focused on honing their training to ensure they peak at the games! Paralympic gold medallist Zanele Situtogether with Paralympians Michael Louwrens and Duane Strydom took part in the BWAA games at Stoke Mandeville, England (the spiritual home of the ParalympicGames), and the German and French Open Championships during June.

From 22 June to 10 July Tanya Green, Ilse Hayes, Fanie van der Merwe, Hilton Langenhoven, Dyan Buys, Jonathan Ntutu, Arnu Fourie, Anrune Liebenberg and Marius Stander are training on Lanzarotte Island before moving on to participate in the Bayer Leverkussen International (10 July) and the Amsterdam Open (21 July), where they will be joined by Teboho Mokgalagadi. Pieter du Preez will be competing at various wheelchair racing events whilst Chenelle van Zyl will train in SA due to work commitments.

The biggest news is that Oscar Pistorius will be competing in both the Men's Individual 400m and the 4X 400m relay at the London Olympics! He will also play a leading role in Team SA at the Paralympic Games.

SASAPD wishes all these athletes and their two coaches, Suzanne Ferreriaand Karin le Roux, great success as they strive for ultimate glory at theLondon 2012 Paralympic Games. - Grahame Jones

Tennis News

Wheelchair tennis champion, Lucas Sithole, added another trophy to his collection by winning the Korea Open; an ITF 1 Series tournament. Lucas, ranked 10th in the world, earned valuable ranking points and boosted his confidence ahead of his 1st Paralympics appearance.

ACSA Soweto Open 2012

The 2nd Airports Company South Africa Soweto Open, sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), part of the ITF World Wheelchair Tennis Tour, took place at the UJ Tennis Club.

The main attraction, on the final day, was the Men's Final between Evans Maripa and Sydwell Mathonsi who will both be representing SA at the London 2012 Paralympics. The on court battle for the title of SA's No 1 player brought out the best in both players. Maripa started slowly and, despite streaks of brilliance, could never quite match the excellence of defending champion Mathonsi who won 6-2, 7-5 and retained his title of the ACSA Soweto Open.

67 players competed, with the majority of players being from regional programmes. The focus for this event, being a Future Level Event, was to provide the opportunity to gain world ranking points and valuable competitive experience.

Bells Night of the Stars

The clear skies of a Highveld winter evening provided a star spangled backdrop to this star studded annual event to raise funds for the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Fund. Not only does this event raise awareness of disability and the danger of rugby injuries, but it also provides an opportunity for the Springbok Rugby Team and their supporters to give something back to their first love.

Captain Jean de Villiers (sporting a black eye), teammates andex-international referee, Mark Lawrence, entertained SuperSport viewers around the country with their witty repartee and leger de main.

Bell's, Trinergy, Gearhouse, SuperSport and the SCC sponsored the evening's festivities. Rare Rugby memorabilia were auctioned offand members of the public encouraged to use the sms line to make donations.