Team SA strut their stuff at Paralympic Games opening
They may have hobbled, limped, rolled or even driven themselves in electronic buggies but they all made sure they got to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games here on Wednesday evening.
In yet another spectacular ceremony to match the occasion of the Olympic opening ceremony on 27 August, the world’s finest athletes filled the Olympic Stadium ahead of Thursday’s first competitions.
And Team South Africa was right amongst the razzmatazz – although they had to wait their turn!
Afghanistan led the way into the stadium and South Africa were the 137th of 164 nations to make their entrance.
And it was triple gold medal winner in Beijing four years ago, Oscar Pistorius who proudly bore the South African flag aloft as the bulk of the team followed him. Those competitors in action on Thursday remained in the village to prepare for their various events.
Once again the grand occasion was graced by Queen Elizabeth and she was accompanied by Sir Philip Craven, head of the International Paralympic Committee. Craven’s son Yann, is one of the hugely helpful Olympic volunteer staff helping Team South Africa at the Paralympics.
The team processions were a riot of colour and fashion with Team South Africa’s Leigh Schubert-designed outfits holding their own in style.
There was something for everyone, the flamboyant carnival atmosphere of a large Brazilian team (host nation for the 2016 Games), followed by the regimented procession of the medal table toppers in Beijing, China.
The German team looked nothing like the colours on their flag, but opting for blue and pink outfits while the Mexican team was a kaleidoscope of images as they wore various ponchos and sombreros.
The Belgium team even sported a guide dog, a golden labrador, perched atop an athlete in a wheelchair.
Come Thursday and it will be a case of dog-eat-dog on the competition fields but on Wednesday night everyone was everyone’s best friend.