Long Live London!
Rolling Inspiration readers had an ocular feast from July to September as, for the first time in our broadcasting history, local television channels supported not only the Olympic games but also, and a big round of applause to them for a supreme effort, the prodigious Paralympic Games.
The magazine's editorial team worked long and hard, day and night, to provide live results and images on our social networking sites direct from the London 2012 sporting venues, thanks to receiving media accreditation from the London Organising Committee.
Before our Paralympians left for the UK there was a lot of muttering regarding the difference in cash incentives offered to Olympic athletes versus those for the Paralympians. I am sure we speak on behalf of all South Africans, not just South Africans with disabilities, when we say THANK YOU to the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities for convincing Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, that there is no place for inequality in sports. All athletes and their coaches, no matter what their ability, put one hundred percent into their training and that is why we achieve as many medals as we do. Thank you also to SASCOC who, when they heard of the decision, agreed that nothing would prevent them from equitably rewarding all South Africans who won medals in London.
Karen and I were in London to watch as, for the first time in Olympic history, an athlete with a disability participated in a track event. The support of the crowd for Oscar Pistorius during the Olympics was overwhelming. He took his place on the track for the 400m heats, his name was announced and 80,000 spectators roared their support. There is probably not a single one who remembers who won that heat (Santos Luguelin of the Dominican Republic) but they will all remember that Oscar qualified for the semi-final!
The support shown for athletes of all nations at the London Olympics would be a tough act to follow, and we wondered whether the Brits would be up to it. We should never have doubted them! Travelling on the buses, trains and tubes each day, with spectators on their way to watch whatever event they had managed to get tickets for, was an eye opener. Even if they had never heard of the sport before, they were eager and excited to be going to support these incredible athletes who had come from all over the planet to show the world exactly how able they are.
Day and night Karen, Sandra and I sat in aquatics and equestrian centres, basketball arenas, velodromes, river banks and stadiums snapping away and recording videos on our cell phones, cameras and iPads and then struggling to find a signal to immediately upload them on our social networks.
Two events shall forever be etched indelibly in my memory.
In one of the 200m races, for athletes with cerebral palsy, an athlete had a spasm attack and fell on the track, maybe 20 metres from the finish line. As his competition crossed the line he waved away the marshals and struggled back to his feet. He wanted to finish his race! The stadium roared their approval and the athletes who had already crossed the line thought it was for them. They turned around to acknowledge the crowd and saw how he was struggling to find his balance. They added their voices and applause to the 80,000 others as we clapped and screamed this courageous and brave young man across the line. It may have been the slowest finish ever recorded - but he finished his race!
My second memory? The final night of the Paralympics was a night of wonder for South Africans as, race after race, our excellent athletes added to the medal tally. Eventually there was only one race left, the T44 400m - starring Oscar Pistorius and Arnu Fourie. Any negativity caused by the debate on blade lengths was forgotten as the South African they had all come to see entered the stadium. The chanting of "Oscar, Oscar" was so loud and so prolific that the announcer had to continually call for silence for the starters orders. The Brits were nervous, they love Oscar to bits and he hadn't won an individual gold yet. It was almost as if they were scared of letting him down! Finally the crowd settled and Arnu and Oscar charged out of the blocks. The chanting spontaneously started again and, as Oscar entered the final 100m straight, with almost the same distance between him and his nearest rival, the crowd jumped to their feet and decibel levels went through the roof! Two world records and a Paralympic record broken in a single race! Oscar reduced his own T43 world record down to just 46.68 seconds and the third man to cross the line, David Prince of USA, set a new world record for T44 - 50.61s.
We sang our hearts out as the South African flag, the final flag to be raised for a track event at the London 2012 Paralympics, fluttered proudly in the summer night sky.
South Africa finished 18th overall on the medals table: 8 Gold, 12 Silver and 9 Bronze, a total of 29 Medals! The Men's 4X100m Relay is counted as a single medal but all of the four men receive a gold medal! - Heather Pansegrouw
- Andrea Dalle Ave: Long Jump F37/38 - 5th - 6.02m, RR
- Anika Pretorius: 100m T13 - 8th - 13.50s
- Anrune Liebenberg: 200m T46 - 3rd - 25.55s - PB & AR; 400m T46 Final 2nd - 56.65s
- Casper Schutte: Javelin F42 - 4th - 48.12m
- Charl Du Toit: 800m T37 – 6th - 2m08.67.
- Chenelle van Zyl: Discus F35/36 - 5th - 24.57m.
- Duane Strydom: Discus F35/36 - 8th - 35.64m
- Dyan Buis: 100m T38 - 2nd - 11.11 RR; Long Jump F37/38 - 3rd - 6.39m; 200m T38 - 2nd - 22.51s RR
- Hilton Langenhoven: 400m T12 - 2nd - 49.04s; 200m T12 - 4th - 22.29s
- Jan Nehro: 5000m T11 - 6th - 16m09.51
- Jonathan Ntutu: 100m T13 round 1 - 11.00s RR; 100m T13 final - 3rd - 11:03s; 200m T13 - 6th - 22.37s RR
- Marius Stander: 400m T38 - 6th - 53.62s
- Michael Louwrens: Shot Put F57/58 - 3rd - 13.64m
- Pieter Du Preez: 100m T51 - 6th - 24.21m
- Tebogo Mokgalagadi: 100m T35 - 2nd - 13.10s; 200m T35 - 5th - 27.02s
- Tshepo Bhebe: 400m T46 - DNQ
- Union Sekailwe: 400m T38 - 3rd - 51.97s; Long Jump F37/38 - 10th - 5.10m; 200m T38 - 6th - 23.16s.
- Zandile Nhlapo: Javelin F33/34/52/53 - 8th - 15.43m; Shot Put F32/33/34 - 12th - 6.41m
- Zanele Situ: Javelin F54-56 - 4th - 16.22m
- Ernst van Dyk: Ind. H4 TT - 5th - 26:35.95; Ind. H4 RR -2nd - 2:00.33
- Gergard Viljoen: Mixed T1-2 TT - 7th - 15:26.41; Mixed T1-2 RR - 4th - 48.37.
- Jaco Nel: Ind. C2 TT - 14th - 28:12.44.
- Madre Carinus: Mixed T1-2 TT - 12th - 16:54.16; Mixed T 1-2 RR - 10th - 1:00.00
- Roxy Burns: Ind. C4 TT - 6th - 32:39.24
- Stuart McCreadie: Ind. H2 TT - 7th - 15:26.41; Ind. H2 RR - 8th - 1:43.51
- Jaco Nel: Ind. C1-3 Kilo - 11th - 1:12.405; Ind. C2 Pursuit - DNQ
- Roxy Burns: Ind. C4 Pursuit -DNQ; Ind. C 4-5 500m - 11th - 42.621.
- Anthony Dawson: Team Test Grade II - 15th - 62.143 pts; Ind. Championship Test Grade II - 18th; Ind. Freestyle Test Grade II - 16th - 63.450 pts
- Marion Milne: Team Test Grade Ib - 6th - 65.818 pts; Ind. Championship Test Grade Ib - 13th - 62.826 pts; Ind. Freestyle Test Grade Ib - 13th - 63.550 pts
- Philippa Johnson: Team Test - Grade IV -13th - 63.125 pts; Ind. Championship Test Grade IV â- 11th - 65.774 pts; Ind. Freestyle Test Grade IV - 12th - 67.200 pts
- Wendy Moller: Team Test Grade II - 13th - 65.818 pts; Ind. Championship Test Grade II -15th; Ind. Freestyle Test Grade II - 9th
- Sandra Khumalo: Single Sculls ASW1x - 8th
- Achmat Hassiem: 100m Bu S10 - 3rd - 57.76s AR; 100m Fs - DNQ; 400m Fs S10 - DNQ
- Emily Grey: 100m Ba S9 - 7th - 1:16.65; 400m Fs S9 - 7th - 4:59.77; 200m IM SM9 - DNQ; 100m Fs S9 – DNQ
- Hendrick Herbst: 100m Fs S11 - 3rd - 59.60s; 50m Fs S11 - 7th - 27.57; 400m Fs S11 - 7th - 4:59.51; 100m Ba S11 - DNQ
- Kevin Paul: 200m IM SM10 - 4th - 2:15.26 (Heats=2:14.97=AR); 50m Fs S10 - 12th - 25.49 -AR; 400m Fs S10 - 7th - 4:16.46 AR; 100m Fs S10 - 11th - 55:55 AR; 100m Br SB9 - 2nd - 1:05.70 AR
- Marike Naude: 50m Fs S13 - DNQ; 100m Br SB13 - DNQ; 100m Fs S13 - DNQ
- Renette Bloem: DNQ for any finals but set a new Africa Record for the 100m Fs S11 - 1:25.72
- Shireen Sapiro: 50m Fs S10 - 15th - 30.87 AR; 100m Ba S10- 3rd - 1:09.02 AR; 400m Fs S10 - 8th - 4:59.54 AR; 100m Fs - 14th - 1:07.42 AR
- Tadhg Slattery: 100m Br SB5 - 5th - 1:39.16
- The team of Marcus Retief (captain), Marius Papenfus, Justin Govender, Siphamandla Gumbi, Stuart Jellows, Kyle Louw, Luvuyo Mbande, Gift Mooketsi, Richard Nortje, Kobus Oeschger, Samuel van Niekerk and Jaco Velloen finished 12th overall.
- Evans Maripa: Singles 1/32 - won 6-1, 6-0; Singles 1/16 - lost 1-6, 4-6.
- Evans & Sydwell: Doubles 1/16 - lost 2-6, 3-6.
- Kgothatso Montjane: Singles 1/16 won 7-5, 6-2; 1/8 - lost 2-6, 2-6
- Lucas Sithole: Quad Singles 1/8 - lost 2-6, 5-7.
- Sydwell Mathonsi: Singles 1/32 - lost 2-6, 7-6, 1-6
Looking to Rio 2016
Who will Compete at Rio 2016? Hano van Jaarsveld is 18 years old and in Grade 11 at Cape Recife High School (CRHS), Port Elizabeth, for learners with Cerebral Palsy, Physical Disabilities and Learning Disabilities (Grade R-12). Hano sustained multiple injuries in a motor vehicle accident at the age of four, causing T4 paraplegia and right brachial plexus injury.
After a number of years in Germany he returned in 2009 and became involved in Sport for the Physically Disabled. He is always eager to experience new things and gives 100% when he sets himself a goal.
He has tried his hand at wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting and surfing as well as winning numerous events and awards for shotput, javelin, swimming, wheelchair racing and archery including, in 2010: SA record - Shotput U16, SA Record - Javelin U16, Best Junior Field Athlete - Mandela Bay SAPD, Best Junior Athlete Eastern Cape APD and Provincial Colours in Shotput and Javelin; in 2011: Best Junior Field Athlete - Mandela Bay SAPD, Nedbank Champs: Gold - Javelin U18, Silver - Shotput U18; SA Games Polokwane: Silver - Javelin U20; Level 2 Regional Swimming Champs in George: Gold in the 50m Br, 50m Ba, 50m Fr, 100m Br and 100m Backstroke.