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Tokyo Paralympic Games: Team South Africa hoping for an...

DM168

DM168 SPORT

Tokyo Paralympic Games: Team South Africa hoping for an improvement on Rio 2016 medal haul

Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa competes in the ladies singles wheelchair first round against Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands during day 12 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on 7 June 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo: Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Many of Team South Africa’s athletes are in good form for the upcoming Paralympic Games.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

A total of 34 athletes across seven sporting codes will attempt to improve on the 17 medals Team South Africa won at the Rio Paralympics five years ago.

Headlining the list is wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane (35), competing at her fourth Paralympics.

Montjane is confident that this will finally be her year after reaching the Wimbledon singles and doubles finals recently, although she finished as runner-up on both occasions.

“Wimbledon was a confidence boost and I’m looking forward to Tokyo,” said Montjane. “I’ve always said in Tokyo I just want to aim for a medal – it doesn’t matter which colour – and after my performance at Wimbledon I don’t see why it’s not attainable.”

Eliphas Moripe (competing in his third Olympics), Mariska Venter who will partner with Montjane in the doubles event and veteran Leon Els (a wildcard entry) are also in the wheelchair tennis line-up.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascoc) Leon Fleiser will be Team SA’s chef de mission and said they will do their best to ensure the athletes’ comfort so they perform at their optimum.

“From a logistical sense, things have been going well and we are excited at the prospect of going to Tokyo and making the country proud. The athletes come first and with the team support staff we have, we are hoping to make it a memorable experience for them.”

The Games run from 24 August to 5 September. Katherine Swanepoel and Alani Ferreira will carry the hopes of the country in the pool. Each broke the national breaststroke records in their classifications at the SA National Aquatic Championships in April and will be eyeing medals.

World champion Anrune Weyers is also a medal hopeful for SA. She is a two-time Paralympian and she’s won World Para Athletics Championships gold, silver and bronze for the 400m, 200m and 100m respectively.

“Our Paralympics have a decorated history when it comes to bringing medals back from these Games and the expectations are no different this year. We are excited to embark on this journey with Team SA’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympians,” Sascoc president Barry Hendricks said before the athletes departed for Tokyo. DM168

Team SA Paralympians and their classification:

ATHLETICS

“T” stands for track and “F” for field.

Ntando Mahlangu (200m, long jump)

T61: Athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Charl du Toit (100m, 200m, 400m)

T37: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in standing position.

Dyan Buis (100m, 400m, long jump)

T38: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in standing position.

Reinhardt Hamman (javelin)

F38: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in standing position.

Kerwin Noemdo (shot put)

F46: Athletes with arm deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in arms, with athletes competing in a standing position.

Mpumelelo Mhlongo (100m, 200m, long jump)

T44: Athletes with a leg deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in the legs, with athletes competing in a standing position.

Tebogo Mofokeng (100m, 400m)

T62: Athletes with a leg amputation who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Tyrone Pillay (shot put)

F63: Athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Daniel du Plessis (100m, 400m)

T62: Athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Puseletso Michael Mabote (100m, long jump)

T63: Athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Ndodomzi Ntutu (100m)

T12: Vision-impaired athletes.

Anrune Weyers (100m, 200m, 400m)

T47: Athletes with arm deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in arms, with athletes competing in a standing position.

Sheryl James (100m, 200m, 400m)

T37: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in a standing position.

Simone Kruger (discus)

F38: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in a standing position.

Ntombizanele Situ (javelin)

F54: Athletes with impaired muscle power, restricted range of movement, limb deficiency or leg length difference, with athletes competing in a seated position. For example, an athlete with a cervical cord/spinal cord injury, amputation or functional disorder.

Louzanne Coetzee (1,500m, marathon)

T11: Vision-impaired athletes.

Johanna Pretorius (100m)

T13: Vision-impaired athletes.

Liezel Gouws (200m, 400m)

T37: Coordination impairment, for athletes competing in a standing position.

ARCHERY

Shaun Anderson

W1: Athletes with an impairment in all four limbs that use a wheelchair.

Philip Coates-Palgrave

Open: Combines W2 and ST classes, including athletes who have an impairment in the legs and use a wheelchair or have a balance impairment and shoot standing or resting.

PARA CYCLING

Pieter du Preez

H2: Hand cycling. H class is for athletes competing with a hand cycle with impairments such as amputation or paralysis of the legs or motor function impairments and is subdivided into classes H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5.

Ernst van Dyk

H5: Hand cycling.

Toni Mould

T1: T class: athletes compete on a tricycle with a lack of balance and/or restriction in pedalling due to muscle tension, uncoordinated movements or involuntary movement. It is subdivided into classes T1 and T2.

EQUESTRIAN

Philippa Johnson-Dwyer (dressage)

Grade IV: Athletes in Grade IV have a severe impairment or deficiency of both arms or a moderate impairment of all four limbs or short stature.

Cayla van der Walt (dressage)

Grade V: Athletes in Grade V have a mildly impaired range of movement or muscle strength or a deficiency of one limb or mild deficiency of two limbs.

PARA SWIMMING

“S” stands for freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events. “SB” stands for breaststroke. “SM” stands for individual medley.

S1/SB1 to S10/SB10 is for athletes with a physical impairment and S11/SB11 to S13/SB13 is for athletes with a vision impairment. The greater the number the more functional ability the athlete has. S14/SB14 is for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

Christian Sadie (50m freestyle S7, 100m backstroke S7, 100m breaststroke SB7, 50m butterfly S7, 200m IM SM 7).

Hendrik van der Merwe (100m breaststroke SB5).

Katherine Swanepoel (50m freestyle S4, 50m backstroke S4, 50m breaststroke SB3, 150m IM SM4).

Alani Ferreira (400m freestyle S13, 100m breaststroke SB13).

TABLE TENNIS

Theo Cogill

Class 10: Table tennis is for athletes with an eligible physical or intellectual impairment. Classes 6-10 are for standing athletes.

WHEELCHAIR TENNIS

Players are eligible to compete in the Open division if they have a permanent physical impairment that results in substantial loss of function in one or both legs and that meets or exceeds the sport’s minimum eligibility criteria.

Kgothatso Montjane and Mariska Venter (women’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles).

Eliphas Maripa and Leon Els (men’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles). DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.

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