Team South Africa named for 2012 Paralympics

June 20th, 2012  |  Published in Paralympics  |  18 Comments

Sports governing body SASCOC have announced yet another star-studded team to travel to the London Paralympic Games later this year.

The announcement was made at SASCOC’s Olympic House on Wednesday and was a glittering occasion as the names of the selected 62 athletes were revealed to the nation.

The team is only slightly down on the 66 athletes that travelled to Beijing, China, the city which hosted the Paralympic Games in 2008.

The squad will be spread over seven different codes. These are: athletics, cycling, equestrian, rowing, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis, with athletics having the strongest representation with 25 athletes.

Swimming will have 10 competitors while the wheelchair basketball team is made up of 12 athletes. Next highest quota are the six cycling competitors.

Spearheading the athletics code will be three-time Paralympian Oscar Pistorius while five-time gold medallist in Beijing, Natalie du Toit is the pick of the aquatics code.

Speaking at the Team Announcement a proud SASCOC CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy said he had no doubts that the selected team would return triumphant. “Although qualifying standards are high, our Paralympians have a global reputation for excellence and I know they will once again do us proud. They’ve fought long and hard to get into this team and we shall see the rewards at these Paralympics.”

Introducing the team, SASCOC President Mr Gideon Sam said it was only right that the Paralympians got their deserved share of publicity. “At our last press conference we shared with you our team for the Olympic Games in London and today it’s the turn of the Paralympic athletes to get their share of the limelight.

“In the past we have sometimes come in for criticism about the performance of our Olympic teams but when it comes to Paralympic teams our men and women have done us proud time and time again. Let me remind you that the first South Africans to represent their country at the Paralympics numbered just nine, way back at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics and they set the benchmark by bringing back eight gold medals.

“Down the years our para-athletes have continued to bring glory to the country. At the last Paralympics in Beijing we sent a team of 66 and between them they brought back 30 medals, 21 of which were gold. This is the high standard of excellence that we have come to expect from our Paralympians.

“Sadly we don’t have a huge Paralympic sporting culture in this country. These are the stars who quietly go about doing their job of preparing for competitions at the very highest level. For something like three years and 11 months you’ll hear just about nothing and then suddenly a month before the Olympics the country starts waking up and says: ‘Hey it’s the Paralympics, who is going!?

“But having said that, we thankfully have, in the shape of Oscar Pistorius and Natalie du Toit, two global superstars who manage to keep the Paralympic flame burning throughout the Paralympic cycles and our other Paralympians must make sure that they feed off this publicity and go on to carve their own niche in the sporting world.

“I also have to thank all our Paralympic sponsors. We are blessed to have some extremely loyal Paralympic sponsors and they have always been there in times of hardship, stood rock-solid behind our Paralympians and in turn been rewarded by the medals these amazing young men and women have brought back to South Africa.”

The London Paralympics gets underway on 29 August and ends on 9 September.

Good luck wishes also came in for the team from the corporate world. Brand South Africa, through its CEO Miller Matola, wished the Paralympics team well in the upcoming games. “Their inclusion in the team is a testament of their excellences on the sporting field.

“We wish you luck knowing very well that good luck is the result of hard work and preparation. Do us proud and continue flying our country’s flag high,” said Matola.

Another highlight of the Paralympic team announcement was the unveiling of Leigh Schubert as the designer who fashioned the kit to be worn by Team South Africa at the opening ceremonies of both the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

SASCOC invited the South African public to vote for the final six designs chosen by a panel of celebrities and the public voted overwhelmingly in favour of Schubert’s cutting edge design.

Part of the design criteria were that the design had to be proudly South African.

The SA public also got to vote for the popular official team mascot Chukuru a few months back.

The full Team South Africa for the 2012 London Paralympics:

Athletics
Tshepo Bhebe, Dyan Buis, Andrea Dalle Ave, Pieter du Preez, Charl du Toit, Arnu Fourie, Ilse Hayes, Hilton Langenhoven, Anrune Liebenberg, Michael Louwrens, Teboho Mokgalagadi, Jan Nehro (guide: Duane Fortuin), Zandile Nhlapo, Jonathan Ntutu, Oscar Pistorius, Anika Pretorius, Samkelo Radebe, Casper Schutte, Union Sekailwe, Zanele Situ, Zivan Smith, Marius Stander, Duane Strydom, Fanie van der Merwe, Chenelle van Zyl.
Manager: Dion Bishop. Coaches: Suzanne Ferreira, Zelda Hansen, Hennie Koekemoer, Karin le Roux, Ampie Louw. Team Assistant: Neels Matthyser. Helper: Illse du Preez

Cycling
Roxy Burns, Madre Carinus, Stuart McCreadie, Jaco Nel, Ernst van Dyk, Gerhard Viljoen.
Manager: Mike Burns. Coach: Ricky Kulsen, Mechanic: Pieter Jansen

Equestrian
Anthony Dawson, Philipa Johnson, Marion Milne, Wendy Moller
Manager: Tracey Cumming. Coach: Chris Haazen. Vet: Sheelagh Higgerty. Grooms: Enoch Cele, Anton Chimbuanda, Elizabeth Newsome, Teri Smith

Rowing
Sandra Khumalo
Manager/coach: Marco Galeone

Swimming
Renette Bloem, Charl Bouwer, Natalie du Toit, Emily Gray, Achmat Hassiem, Hendri Herbst, Marike Naude, Kevin Paul, Shireen Sapiro, Tadhg Slattery
Manager: Queeneth Ndlovu. Coach: Karoly Toros. Coach/Tapper: Karin Hugo. Tapper/Helper: Eeden Meyer

Wheelchair basketball
Justin Govender, Siphamandla Gumbi, Stuart Jellows, Kyle Louw, Luvuyo Mbande, Gift Mooketsi, Richard Nortje, Kobus Oeschger, Marius Papenfus, Marcus Retief, Jaco Velloen
Manager: Willie Riechert. Coach: Patrick Fick. Assistant coach: Shadrack Moepeng. Technical coach: Franck Belen

Wheelchair Tennis
Evans Maripa, Sydwell Mathonsi, Kgothatso Montjane, Lucas Sithole.
Manager/coach: Holger Losch. Assistant coach: Khotso Matshego.

General Team Management
Chef de Mission: Pieter Badenhorst
Project manager: Vinesh Maharaj
Manager (logistics): Clifford Cobers
Logistics: Madira Sehlapelo
Manager (athletes services): Chantelle Jardim
Athlete services: Dumisani Mtwa
Chief medical officer: Wayne Derman
Chief physiotherapist: Grace Hughes
Doctor: Paul Maphoto
Physiotherapists: Given Baloyi, Edwin Bodha, Greshne Davids, Shantal Edwards, Dan Ntseke, Evah Ramashala
Classifier: Tarina van der Stockt


Responses

  1. Meryl says:

    June 20th, 2012 at 11:16 am (#)

    It was with delight that I received the news that the Intellectually Impaired athletes were to be allowed back into the Paralympics in 2012. Was SASCOC not informed of this decision seeing as they have not selected one Intellectually Impaired Athlete for Paralympics 2012.

    Would it not have been a good idea to increase the athlete numbers (and chances of medals) and include the Intellectually Impaired who are of a World Class Standard. If finances were tight (maybe the budget is not that generous) a decision could have been made to reduce the 45 member Management /coaching /assistant team, and increase the number of athletes.

  2. Bronwyn says:

    June 20th, 2012 at 11:42 am (#)

    I have to agree with Meryl. Whilst it is a fine achievement for our athletes, it begs the question as to why the S14 athletes (Intelectually disabled) were not included in this squad?

    I take great interest in the Paralympics and I know for a fact that many of the Intelectually Disabled Athletes rank higher than the Physically Disabled. Considering this is their first opportunity to partake in the Paralympics since the Sydney 2000 games, SASCOC should be ashamed by this glaring ‘oversight’.

    Congratulations and good luck to the athletes going to London.

  3. Izanne Dalle Ave says:

    June 20th, 2012 at 11:55 am (#)

    Hi Meryl , as a mom of a newly appointed Olympian,i can tell you that the process of qualifying for the team is immense. The number of places are not decided by Sascoc, but are very clearly awarded to a country by the Olympic committee. Also not every discipline or disability is catered for. for example there is no T37 relay event , so even if the athlete has qualified for that event , he cannot participate. Are there any events for the intellectually impaired at these Olympics this year?
    To obtain an A qualifying standard is huge and it has to be done locally and internationally , at a IPC sanctioned event .There we over 40 Athletes that qualified to go to these Olympic games , but only 25 were be chosen, they had to be top 5 in the world and have a chance at winning a medal. So as you can see its not just a thumb suck . As for the Management and coaches that are going with , every single one of them are vital in the teams ability to perform. They work around the clock ensuring that all runs smoothly, that the athletes are well cared for , and perform at their best.

  4. Kobus says:

    June 20th, 2012 at 1:36 pm (#)

    Izanne is quite correct.

    SASCOC is also hosting the National Paralympic Committee of SA. The latter is the IPC who will take the team to London.

    There are a number of criteria to be considered, among others world rankings, medal contention, number of slots by the IPC etc. If the II athletes complied within these, they would have been considered. Also remember that a limited number of II sporting codes were included in the 2012 Paralympics, and not all are included.

    Finances were no consideration in determining the team size.

    Let us all rally behind our Team SA

  5. Neels Matthyser says:

    June 21st, 2012 at 6:49 am (#)

    Regarding inclusion of Intellectually Impaired athletes to Team SA for the Paralympic Games 2012.
    There are only a small amount of events at the Games for the ID (Intellectually Disabled) athletes.
    Only one athlete of South Africa did qualify, but sadly the athlete passed away earlier this year. We (SASAPD) took ID athletes to the previous World Championships in New Zeeland and it was a sole pleasure to have the ID athletes with us. We look forward including them in the team for World Championships in 2013 again.

    SASAPD National Athletics Committee

  6. Meryl says:

    June 21st, 2012 at 7:25 am (#)

    Hi Izanne. Congratulations on being the mom of a newly appointed Olympian. How very proud you must be of the achievement. I know it will be an experience of a lifetime for all the athletes. I am not trying to take anything away from the athletes who were chosen. I have every confidence that each and every one of them worked very hard and were chosen on merit, and I am behind them 100%. I will be a very proud South African each time one of them wins a medal, and yes, there are events for the Intellectually Impaired at these Olympics.
    However, I am just questioning why athletes who qualified locally and internationally in more than 2 events, have a very high ranking internationally, and have proven time and again that they are capable of bringing home medals from international events in the 4 years leading up to the Paralympics, were not chosen for the team.
    It has been a long hard battle to have the II included in London 2012 after the Spanish ruined it for all at Sydney 2000.
    I really feel these II athletes who have been handed a raw deal.

  7. Roger says:

    June 21st, 2012 at 8:02 am (#)

    Well done to everyone!

    I just want to comment on some of the previous comments:

    It’s PARALYMPICS not Olympics! How hard is it to get the name right?

    Please will SASCOC send a very loud message out to the media to get the name right – We still hear “Para-Olympics” on the radio and tv.

  8. Meryl says:

    June 21st, 2012 at 8:39 am (#)

    As far as I am aware the swimmers who are Intellectually Impaired and qualified for Paralympics are alive and well.

  9. Roger says:

    June 21st, 2012 at 9:24 am (#)

    There are twenty different sports at the Paralympics, why do we only participate in seven?

    Does this country really not have anyone who can compete in: Archery, Boccia, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Sailing, Shooting, Table tennis, Volleyball, Wheelchair fencing and Wheelchair rugby?

    When are these sports going to get proper attention?

  10. Bronwyn says:

    June 22nd, 2012 at 6:36 am (#)

    From http://www.athleteswithoutlimits.org/competitions/london2012

    “The first sports to re-include at the 2012 Paralymics in London are Athletics, Swimming & Table Tennis with Cross Country Skiing and Rowing likely by 2014 and 2016. Follow along in our efforts to help athletes with intellectual disability achieve their Olympic dreams.”

    Surely we have qualifying ID athletes in Athletics, Swimming and Table Tennis?

  11. Merv says:

    June 24th, 2012 at 9:35 am (#)

    My sympathy with those ID swimmers who are not going to the Paralympics.Can imagine all the hard work and expectations to then find out there are not enough slots for them to go.To all the other swimmers, congratulations and i am sure the ID swimmers emotions have been recognised by not only the public but the other disabled swimmers as well.
    I hope that this year the disabled swimmers will also get competition kit like the abled bodied.Its a shame that these athletes always seem to get the hand downs.Our experience at Beijing was that our son landed up almost having to share a costume with a female swimmer.Not fare.We had to within 2 days with help of a local sponsor get a suit to him.He ended getting Gold for SA.I hope this year is better as far as kit goes.

  12. Stephen says:

    July 1st, 2012 at 2:57 am (#)

    Go TEAM SA!!!! Make us proud bring home the GOLD and Sanrda make PH Umhlanga proudder….

  13. Samantha says:

    July 13th, 2012 at 10:08 am (#)

    SOUTH AFRICANS you BEAUTY’S!!! wow what a way to make us the beautiful country that we are! A special shout out goes to the craziest swimmer we know SHIREEN SAPIRO we love you and are beyond proud of you! bring home a Gold and yet ANOTHER world record!we love you!

  14. Marc says:

    August 13th, 2012 at 11:42 am (#)

    It’s great to see the team – its even better to see how many athletes we are sending – go get gold!!!

    On a side note – check your PC after looking at this site – mine got a trojan from this site!!!

  15. aaron says:

    August 13th, 2012 at 6:27 pm (#)

    if i am correct and, and i stand to be corrected there is the “special olympics” for id athletes

  16. Roger says:

    August 15th, 2012 at 6:45 am (#)

    @Aaron – The “Special Olympics” is not an elite level event. It is a “mass participation” event for people with ID of any level of athletic ability. The emphasis is on participation, not winning.

    IMHO it’s unfortunate that the word “Olympics” is used for a mass participation event – it causes exactly this kind of confusion.

  17. Roger says:

    August 15th, 2012 at 6:48 am (#)

    @SASCOC when will you publish the Paralympics Schedule for SA Athletes?

    I have also not found any specific information about television broadcasting – both SABC and Supersport websites have no info!

  18. Zintle says:

    August 20th, 2012 at 1:48 pm (#)

    I was selected this year in DBN but no one told me I was not going anymore which was heart breaking a lot,they really have to improve somethnings in the selection side.

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