Under 23 wheelchair basketball shines in Turkey

The Sasol Ama Wheela Boys saved the best for last and it paid off in the IWBF Under 23 World Championships in Turkey. The novices from South Africa won their last match against Venezuela 73 to 49 at the Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Adena.

This now places the boys in green and gold in the eleventh position in the world. The ranking will change in four years time at the next World Championships.
The head coach, Brendon Dryden, was overjoyed with the team’s victory.
"It was a great way to finish this tournament. Everyone in the team upped their game and our shooting percentages improved and we minimised turnovers. I’m extremely proud of everyone and look forward to building for the future."

RugbySouth Africa is set to host arguably the toughest tournament in the world South African, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are set to compete in the IWRF 2013 Asia-Oceania Championships hosted by SA Wheelchair Rugby (SAWCR) from 16-25 November 2013 at the LC de Villiers Stadium, University of Pretoria. Teams competing in IWRF Zone Tournaments can qualify for IWRF World Championships and Paralympic Games.

Competing teams are due to arrive from 16 November, with the opening ceremony and first games to take place on 20 November. SA WCR has announced free entrance for all local spectators to come and support each match.

Event Program

  • 16-Nov-13 Saturday All Day Teams Arrive
  • 20-Nov-13 Wednesday Opening Ceremony
  • 08h15 Teams Arrive
  • 08h30 VIP Arrivals
  • 09h00 Opening Ceremony
  • 10h00 - 14h00 Australia v South Africa /Japan v New Zealand
  • 16h00 - 20h00 Australia v New Zealand/ Japan v South Africa
  • 21-Nov-13 Thursday 10h00 - 14h00 New Zealand v South Africa/ Australia v Japan
  • 16h00 - 20h00 Japan v South Africa/ New Zealand v Australia
  • 22-Nov-13 Friday 10h00 - 14h00 New Zealand v South Africa/ Japan v Australia
  • 16h00 - 20h00 South Africa v Australia/ New Zealand v Japan
  • 23-Nov-13 Saturday Closing Ceremony
  • 11h00 Teams Arrival
  • 12h00 Bronze Medal Game
  • 14h00 Gold Medal Game
  • 16h00 Closing Ceremony
  • 19h00 Final Farewell party
  • 24-Nov-13 Sunday All Day Teams Depart Game. Set. Match. Tournament!

Triple amputee Lucas Sithole wins US Open

SA wheelchair tennis player, Lucas Sithole, has made history by becoming the first African to win a singles US Open title. He is now ranked number two in the world after claiming the wheelchair quad singles title at the US Open.

Lucas beat world number one, David Wagner, in an exciting three set match. Sithole started the final on a jittery note with David Wagner stringing four games consecutively in the first set. Sithole regained composure via a service break in the second set to lead 4-3, before leading 5-3 and ultimately sealing the match with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory to complete a memorable maiden Grand Slam win.

I was confident coming into the final,” said Sithole after ending Wagner’s bid for a third successive US Open singles title. “I’d like to thank the supporters and also David for sharing this experience with me. I was a bit nervous at the start of the game as I struggled with my serve because of the strong wind that day. Fortunately my coach, Holger Losch, just told me to relax, and I want to thank him for being there for me every step of the way,” the 26-year old champion stated.

Losch said that Lucas is a true inspiration and that wheelchair tennis had grown significantly in South Africa over the last decade. “Nine years ago there were about three players playing wheelchair tennis in South Africa.

“Now there are about 500 children playing every week. We host six tournaments in South Africa on an annual basis and that's just great for the game,” Losch added.

Growing talent

“Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) congratulates Lucas on an inspiring win. The company is proud to see how its partnership with Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) has developed and grown talent over the nine-year period since it started sponsoring the sport. WTSA is developing world-class players and has put South Africa on the global map of wheelchair sporting talent,” said Bongani Maseko, MD of ACSA.

ACSA is the official sponsor of WTSA and the company is committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme. Through this partnership, ACSA aims to produce more champions like Lucas ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Holding his own

“Lucas’ achievement is a clear indication that given the right support, people with disabilities can hold their own. As a department, we are proud of his achievement and congratulate him on his outstanding performance and tipping the scale in South Africa and Africa’s favour,” said Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister for the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.