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SA team ready to do battle at IPC Athletics World Championships
- Updated: October 22, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
World T12 100-m sprint world record-holder Ilse Hayes led Team South Africa into battle at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday night.
Athletes and fans were treated to a spectacular ceremony at the Katara Cultural village before competition gets underway on Thursday.
Flagbearer Hayes is part of a 23-strong South African contingent all doing their utmost to win prestigious slots at next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The ceremony was hosted by local youth ambassadors Ghanim Al Muftah, a 13-year-old boy born with the rare Caudal Regression Syndrome, and Nojood Mohammed Yacoub al-Kubaisi, a 12-year-old girl who is being raised by hearing impaired parents, and who has become a specialist in sign language.
The Games were officially opened by H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee.
More than 1300 athletes from roughly 100 countries will be in action at the Qatar Sports Club until 31 October.
Seven South Africans will be in day one action with African Games shot put champion Tyrone Pillay of Durban first off in the F42 final.
Sprinters Charl du Toit and veteran Fanie van der Merwe will be in T37 200m semi-final action and Commonwealth Games bid ambassador Dyan Buis and Union Sekailwe in the T38 200m semi-final.
Another African Games champion and 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist, Jonathan Ntutu goes off in the T12 100m first round and semi-final.
Final South African in action is Lean Simon in the F44 discus final.
Picture of flagbearers at the opening ceremony, courtesy of Francois Nel/Getty Images
SA’s trip to the IPC Athletics World Championships is made possible by sponsors Nedbank, SASOL, Sport and Recreation SA, the National Lottery Distribution Fund, 361º and SAA.