Current standing on SA’s National Wheelchair Rugby

In hosting arguably the toughest Wheelchair Rugby Zone Tournament in the World, South Africa Wheelchair Rugby is looking to encourage participation and development for people living with disabilities in all communities throughout Africa, while encouraging the development of Wheelchair Rugby in South Africa.

South Africa has a population of about 55 774 physically disabled people. The reality is that these numbers are increasing daily. The impact that Wheelchair Rugby may have on people with a physical disability varies from developing self-esteem, increasing independence and self-motivation, and also assisting with unemployment.
It would therefore be to the benefit of people with disabilities from all communities to encourage the development of any sport for the disabled.

Wheelchair Rugby is perhaps one of the most expensive sports for people with disabilities and caters for the more severely disabled. The support of government, as well as funders and sponsors are critical to the success of any sport development.
The SA Squad had one training camp during the past 12 months. Dedicated athletes and staff had to fund this training camp as no funding was available to do so. The training camp is in preparation for the IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship to be held in Pretoria during November 2013.

The urgency in finding sponsors to support the South Africa Wheelchair Rugby National team is of critical importance. The task at hand for the national team is huge. An inexperienced South Africa Wheelchair Rugby Team needs to compete for the first time since 2009 against the top Wheelchair Rugby Teams in the world.

SA is ranked 25th in the world and has to end at least 4th in the tournament to gain a wildcard to attend the World Championships in 2014. South Africa’s Wheelchair Rugby league tournaments are the only competitions our athletes have competed in since 2009. It is therefore impossible to develop our athletes at an international level. SA will face teams such as Australia (2nd), Japan (5th), New Zealand (9th) and Korea (18th).

The current squad has very little international experience. With the amount of people living with disabilities in South Africa, the potential in our country is without a doubt the best in the world. A well-supported development program will assist South Africa Wheelchair Rugby in becoming a competitive Wheelchair Rugby playing nation.
The final South Africa Wheelchair Rugby National Team selection will take place in August/September 2013, which will give the team only two months for final preparation.If you are interested in sponsoring, funding and supporting SA WCR,


Thirty-six bowlers took part in the Physically Disabled Bowlers South Africa (PDBSA) National Championships from 21-23 April 2013. The tournament was held in Bloemfontein at the Orangia and Oud Studente Bowling Clubs. The hearty Free State hospitality and the central location led to a competitive field in both the open pairs, as well as the three singles categories. Coincidentally, the National Association of Blind Bowlers (NABB) were also holding their annual national championships, often on parallel rinks – it was a week of bowlers for Bloem!

The first three days of the National Championships were dedicated to the pairs . For those unfamiliar with the rules of bowls, pairs’ matches are held over 18 ends or three and a half hours of play (whichever comes first) and the winner is the pair with the most shots at that time. Shots are determined by whoever’s bowl is closest to the jack when all the bowls in an end, have been delivered.

In the pairs’ play-offs Roger Hagerty (Johannesburg) and Theuns Fourie (Free State) beat Pieter Naude (Nelspruit) and Elize van den Heever (Bloemfontein), while Wimpie Viljoen and Eddie van der Heiden (North West) beat At Stander and Chris Reynecke (Pretoria). Hagerty and Fourie went on to take gold when they beat Viljoen and van der Heiden.

To demonstrate the diversity of the physical disabilities represented by the 8 pairs’ finalists: Roger and At are both single leg amputees, Theuns is a paraplegic, Wimpie and Chris both have only one arm, Eddie is a double leg amputee, Pieter has cerebral palsy, and Elize uses a wheelchair, but is still able to stand to bowl.

The ladies’ single poved how intense the National Championships can be. During their round robin, none of the 6 ladies won all of their matches and each player won at least one match, indicating that it was a very competitive draw. Emma Kruger (Cape Town) was awarded the gold medal, Annetjie Meyer (Mpumalanga) the silver and Elize van den Heever (Bloemfontein), the bronze.

In the B5 and B6 categories (determined by a qualified and internationally recognised evaluator), the players have more compromised balance than the higher categories, because their disabilities are more severe. The 12 competitors were made up of paraplegics, high level amputees and people with extreme cerebral palsy people, as well as others with highly compromised balance.

The top players were ranked and competitors were divided into two relatively even sections. They also played a round robin format. Theuns Fourie (Free State) was hoping to achieve double gold, but had to settle for silver in an exciting match (21-18), with fellow paraplegic Deon Van der Vyver (East London). Roger Hagerty (Johannesburg) took the bronze in an equally exciting match with Kowie Loots (Jeffrey’s Bay).

The B7 and B8 category was a little more complex. There were 18 competitors and it was necessary to borrow competition formats from the World Rugby Sevens and Cricket World Cup, to enable a very accurate method of determining the best bowlers over the week.

The gold medal final was an ‘all Bloemfontein’ and ‘an all single lower leg amputee’ affair. Jakes Jacobs beat Johann Beer into second place, taking the gold medal. The excitement did not end there, Wimpie Viljoen (North West) took bronze when he beat last year’s gold medalist, Brian Jarvis (Free State).

It was a tremendous National Championship week. PDBSA would like to extend their gratitude to the host clubs and all their members who volunteered over the week with everything from catering to logistics. Your contributions made the event a success. A big thank you to all the sponsors (big and small) – it is your generosity that enables people from all over the country to come together for this annual challenge for sports people with physical disabilities.

Refurbished basketball court opens at Zoo Lake The Discovery 702 Walk the Talk has officially opened a basketball court at Zoo Lake, which has been refurbished with funds raised by participants of the 2012 edition of the event.

Residents in Emmarentia, Greenside, Parkview and surrounds generously give up their streets on the day.

As such, the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk engages with the Residents’ Associations in these areas to find projects that will enhance their areas, and have a positive impact on the broader community. The event partnered with the Parkview Resident’s Association to upgrade a basketball court at Zoo Lake. “The Discovery 702 Walk the Talk encourages physical activity among individuals as a key element to a healthy lifestyle, so we are delighted to be supporting the growth and development of a sport which is fun, easy to get involved in and gets people moving. It encompasses our philosophy of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives,” said Discovery general manager of marketing Dinesh Govender. “As sponsors of the Discovery Eagles, we have a longstanding relationship with wheelchair basketball and the court also features a ramp built specifically for paraplegics who enjoy playing this sport,” said Govender.

The court, which has been resurfaced, painted and fitted with new hoops, is free and open to the public. Together with the existing court, which is already very popular, the basketball complex draws a cosmopolitan crowd of ballers of all ages and from various backgrounds. Managed by the City of Joburg’s department of Community Development, the courts are part of a broader movement in basketball promotion around Joburg that includes stakeholders such as Basketball SA and the NBA in South Africa.

Triple triumph for Slabbert in Nedbank SA Disabled Open

Daniel Slabbert claimed a third consecutive Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open title with a convincing 12-stroke victory at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort. And now the 22 year old leg amputee is ready to step up to a new challenge.
Slabbert closed with a 75 to finish on six-over-par 222, with Sweden’s Caroline Larsson his nearest challenger on 234 after a 78.

Iglin Grobbelaar, twice a winner of this tournament, took third place on 241 with a final round of 79.

But there was little challenge to Slabbert’s dominance in the premier tournament of the South African Disabled Golf Association.

The young South African, who lost his leg as a teenager in a freak trampoline accident, has become a major force in South African disabled golf.

“Ever since I lost my leg I wanted to win the Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open, so to win it three times in a row is really a dream come true for me,” said Slabbert.
“I think I could’ve scored better and I wanted to try and finish under par for the tournament. But maybe next year.”

Having proved himself in disabled golf, Slabbert has already started with his new challenge – competing against able-bodied golfers.

He has played in two able-bodied amateur tournaments this year, and two weeks ago finished seventh in the Highveld Open in Ermelo.

“I really want to try and play more amateur tournaments and see how I do on that circuit. I want to see if I can go up against the big guys in the future.”

Eugene Vorster, the Executive Director of the South African Disabled Golf Association, certainly believes Slabbert has the potential to achieve this.

“Daniel is in a league of his own. But there’s talent and there’s also a lot of hard work. I know how hard Daniel has worked. He’s in the gym every day. He works incredibly hard on his game. And for disabled golf, that’s really what we hope for in a player like him – that he embraces this challenge.

“He has a desire to compete against able-bodied players and that sends such a positive message for disabled people. He’s already made the top 10 in an able-bodied amateur tournament, and I believe in the future South Africa will be seeing a lot more of him.”

SASCOC reveals latest Olympic, Paralympic support plans
SASCOC announced their latest athlete support system for the country’s leading Olympic and Paralympic sportsmen and women.

Immediately after the London Games, the country’s Olympic governing body wasted no time in turning its attention to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Operation Excellence (OPEX) is the premier programme for prospective Olympic and Paralympic medalists and the programme consists of three different tiers which provide varying degrees of funding and support.

A total of 13 athletes on the Olympic Programme and 14 athletes on the Paralympic Programme will be part of the Tier One structure and exciting news is that there is now added support for athletes who may not be ranked high enough, but are nevertheless preparing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games qualification.

“There is no doubting that SASCOC’s increased support structures in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics was a major factor in the country’s success at these events,” said SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy. “We’re roping in support from wherever we can to help our athletes live their Olympic and Paralympic dreams,” said SASCOC President Gideon Sam. “Apart from sourcing funding wherever possible, we have roped in the Defence Force, our academic institutions and the various provincial academies, all of whom have parts to play in the bigger support picture. We saw how OPEX helped us get back on track in London after Beijing, now we are extending that programme even further.”

In the 2009-2012 quadrennial, SASCOC supported 58 Olympic athletes and 42 Paralympian athletes to the tune of R70.7million.

Ms Ezera Tshabangu (General Manager: High Performance Dept) said, “It was evident from the Games that it is critical for this support to continue to ensure that athletes and National Federations are able to plan for the next quadrennial (2013-2016).

“Regarding team sports, limited resources mean that SASCOC shall again prioritise sports codes based on past quadrennial performance history. This is to ensure that our resources are invested in sports that will return medals for the country, which is obviously the ultimate performance measure in any Games and determines SA’s standing in terms of rankings.”

Support services offered to athletes through the programme will be as follows: living expenses, medical aid, and transport for training sessions, access to training facilities, international and local camps and competitions, coaching fees, scientific and medical support services, technological services, sport specific equipment.

More support for our up and coming athletes comes in the form of SASCOC’s bursary scheme, now being rolled out around the country and funded through dividends from Phumelela.

A total of 650 applications were received nationwide by the closing date of 15 February 2013 and 11 names (five male, six female) have been shortlisted for support.
“Priority was given to national athletes who were either doing first or second year studies, with emphasis on first year applicants to allow us to support them for the full duration of their course,” said Tshabangu.

Among these names is rising sprint star Akani Simbine who set a national junior 100-metre record at the Zone VI Games in Zambia last year.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld, sports editor of the Fever Newspaper Group, was named the runner-up in the Local Newspapers Journalist of the Year category. Van Jaarsveld, was commended for “taking national and international sport stars and through smart writing making them interesting to the readers of his papers”. Van Jaarsveld, 29, suffered a catastrophic neck injury leaving the promising scrumhalf a quadriplegic, when a tackle from behind resulted in him breaking his C5 vertebra in 2000. After completing matric, Van Jaarsveld decided to combine his passion for sports and writing obtaining a creative writing certificate through Intec and a certificate in Communication Science and Community Journalism through Unisa. In 2009, he joined the Fever Newspaper Group as their Sports Editor, while he headed up Green Office’s ink cartridge collection department, for the Southern KwaZulu-Natal region. Van Jaarsveld joined last August and continues his work at both the Fever Newspaper Group and Green Office.

“I’m very honoured to win the award and I am grateful to bring it back to the Fever. It’s humbling to be acknowledged on a national platform, but at the end of the day it’s about taking pride in your work and striving to produce work of a high calibre on a consistent basis,” said Van Jaarsveld. “Having said that, I would not have a career if it wasn’t for the support of my parents, my brother Jacques, my physio Marinda Salotto, the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund and the Cunningham/Kemp Fund. This award is very much a result of a team effort and I’m merely the face of the team. Above all, though, the glory goes to Jesus my Lord and Saviour for His love and grace and for blessing me with success beyond my wildest expectations,” said Van Jaarsveld.