Pretoria – South Africa’s Olympic governing body SASCOC on Wednesday announced a star-studded team which will travel to the 2012 London Paralympic Games later this year.
The team is only slightly down on the 66 athletes that travelled to the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
The squad will be spread over several different codes, including 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. The next highest quota is the six cycling competitors.
Spearheading the athletics code will be three-time Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, while five-time gold medalist in Beijing, Natalie du Toit, is the pick of the aquatics code.
SASCOC chief executive officer Tubby Reddy said he had no doubt 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,” he said.
Introducing the team, SASCOC President Gideon Sam said: “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.
“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 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.”
The full Team South Africa for the 2012 London Paralympics is as follows:
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
Roxy Burns, Madre Carinus, Stuart McCreadie, Jaco Nel, Ernst van Dyk, Gerhard Viljoen.
Manager: Mike Burns. Coach: Ricky Kulsen, Mechanic: Pieter Jansen
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
Manager/coach: Marco Galeone
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
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
Evans Maripa, Sydwell Mathonsi, Kgothatso Montjane, Lucas Sithole.
Manager/coach: Holger Losch. Assistant coach: Khotso Matshego.
The London Paralympics will get underway on 29 August and end on 9 September. – BuaNews