By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
South Africa landed two gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday through long-jumper Ntando Mahlangu and 400m runner Anrune Weyers.
According to the official account for the South African Tokyo Paralympics team, Weyers won the team’s first medal after claiming victory in the women’s 400m final.
Weyers completed the race in 56.05 seconds.
Fellow Paralympian Ntando Mahlangu set a new world record after his long jump performance.
Team SA, Mahlangu achieved a final leap of 7.17m in the men’s T63 long jump, thus setting a new world record in the T61 category and scoring gold
According to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), "classification is the cornerstone of the paralympic movement, it determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how athletes are grouped together for competition."
As a result, athletes are grouped by the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairment. The IPC compares this to grouping athletes by age, gender or weight.
"Different sports require athletes to perform different activities, such as: sprinting, propelling a wheelchair, rowing and shooting.
As sports require different activities, the impact of the impairment on each sport also differs. Therefore, for classification to minimise the impact of impairment on sport performance, classification must be sport-specific."
Anruné Weyers, for example, falls into the T47 category, which according to the IPC classifies her among those whose upper limbs are affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or an impaired passive range of movement.
Click here for a full list of classifications, codes and what they mean.
Meanwhile Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced financial incentives for 2020 Tokyo Games medal-winning athletes and their coaches on Friday. The incentives will be to the tune of hundreds of thousands of rands.
He was speaking at a media briefing to provide clarity about his department’s plans to provide incentives for Paralympians and Olympians who delivered outstanding performances at the games.
The allocated amounts are as follows:
- Gold medal winners will be rewarded with R450,000 with their coach earning R120,000
- Silver medal winners will be rewarded with R220,000 with their coach earning R70,000
- Bronze medal winners will be rewarded with R100,000 with their coach winning R30,000
- World Record breaking feats will earn athletes R180,000
In the same lomg-jump event on Saturday, South Africa's Puseletso Mabote finished 9th with a distance of 5.18.