President’s Voice – Gideon Sam
One must have a heart of stone if you do not get swept away by emotions at the Paralympic Games.
These athletes just force you to count your blessings one by one. Talk about being inspired by what you see and you will know; such inspiration does not come better than here.
These amazing feats by these athletes must be seen to be believed. The world will never be the same again for athletes with disabilities following these Games and also what we saw in Beijing four years ago.
These athletes ask for nothing more or less than what is given to their able-bodied counterparts. In a packed stadium on the final evening of the Games they showed the world that they too can entertain. And lets not forget that the spectators have been wonderful in their support for all the athletes.
The second observation is to see the number of countries that are articipating here. The competition for medals has become tougher and athletes must be at their very best to win medals. This too enhances the offering by the IPC at these games. It is diificult to find a ticket for these events and thatin itself tells you a story.
There is no denying the fact that if we in South Africa want to be competitive at futur Games, then we must up our game in supporting our athletes with disability for them to continue making us proud. Our athletes are fighting a valiant fight here and at the end of it all; they will stand tall and say: they gave of their best.
So far so good and congratulations to all who made the Games a worthwhile experience for our athletes. A special thank-you must go to loyal sponsors who even came across to spend time with the athletes.
We know and you know it is not simply about giving money and then hoping things will happen. Sponsors become partners in the real sense of the word.
You know who you are and we say, thank you. Then too, the South African public have been great and your well wishes and prayers were truly taken to heart by the athletes.