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Stars head for NZ

Thirty-five athletes will do duty for Team South Africa at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand early next year.

Our athletes will be among the more than 1000 athletes from more than 70 countries around the globe heading to Christchurch’s QEII Stadium where the Championships will take place on January 21-30, 2011.

The event has major importance on the IPC calendar as it is the last big gathering of international athletes before the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

South Africa will take a star-studded squad on the long trip to New Zealand, among them the world acclaimed Oscar Pistorius. Affectionately known as the Blade Runner, he will be competing in the 100-metre, 200m and 400m (T44 class) — all races he won four years ago at the last IPC Athletics World Championships in Assen, Netherlands.

Pistorius won gold in the 100, 200 and 400-metre events in Assen and returned home after having set world records in the 200 and 400m.

Triple gold medallist from the Beijing Paralymics in 2008, Hilton Langenhoven will also be in action as will be long-distance legend Ernst van Dyk. There’s also another Beijing gold medallist, among the eight-strong women’s team, in the shape of Ilse Hayes.

Due to the generosity of the SASCOC’s Paralympic sponsors the squad of 35 (27 men and eight woman) is considerably bigger than the team of 15 that travelled to Beijing in 2008.

Team manager Dion Bishop says of the team: “It’s quite a large team that we’re taking to New Zealand and all the Paralympic medal winners are competing again, with Fanie Lombaard even coming back from ‘retirement’ to compete. I’m confident of us doing as well as we did in Beijing, although one obviously needs to take into account that a lot of new talent is included for the world championships.”

“All the new athletes are exciting prospects, but the most promising according to current world rankings, are youngsters like Anrune Liebenberg (female, 17 years old) – currently ranked No 1 in the 400m (T46 class), Samkelo Radebe fresh from his Commonwealth Games silver medal in the T45/46 class and we are also very excited about the chances of the male cerebral palsy and amputee relay teams, currently ranked second and first with their times.”

Team South Africa’s trip to the IPC Athletics World Championships was made possible by the following Paralympic sponsors: Mercedes Benz, Pick n Pay, Vodacom, National Lottery, Telkom, Nedbank, Sasol, Department of Sport and Recreation and Sun International.

The full SA team:

Men
Oscar Pistorius, Fanie van der Merwe, Hilton Langenhoven, Teboho Mokgalagadi, Arnu Fourie, Samkelo Radebe, Jonathan Ntutu, Pieter du Preez, Fanie Lombaard, David Roos, Francois Badenhorst, Duane Strydom, Michael Louwrens, Nicholas Newman, Marius Stander, Jan Nero, Gerrit Kruger, Heugene Murray, Joshua Joubert, Casper Schutte, Bernard Haarhoff, Juandre Jenkinson, Ernst van Dyk, Mncedi Khanti, Ishmael Legodi. Relay specialists: Andrea Dalle Ave, Dyan Buis

Women
Ilse Hayes, Anrune Liebenberg, Aleesha Gerber, Zanele Situ, Chenelle van Zyl, Juanelie Meijer, Given Ratsoma, Nontobeko Mabizela

Team manager: Dion Bishop, Assistant manager: Neels Matthyser, Runner’s guide: Duane Fortuin, Team assistant: Illse du Preez


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