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Monday, 08 July 2024 11:22

Sascoc names the initial squad of 26 athletes for Paris Paralympics.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Sports Confederation, Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SASCOC) has announced an initial squad of 26 athletes to represent Team South Africa at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

The games are set to take place between 28 August and 8 September.

The team was announced by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee CEO Nozipho Jafta on Monday morning.

The athletes announced represent seven different sporting codes. The squad is made up of a mixture of experienced and first-time Paralympians, including three medalists from Tokyo 2020.

Those medallists are Pieter du Preez (cycling, 1 gold), Louzanne Coetzee (athletics, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and Sheryl James (athletics, 1 bronze).

Double gold medallist Ntando Mahlangu will, unfortunately, not travel to Paris as his main event (men's T61 200m) has been scrapped and the 22-year-old didn't qualify for his long jump class.

Qualification windows haven't closed for a number of sporting codes and more names will be added before the team departs for the French capital in August.

Athletes who win gold will be awarded R400 000, with the coach receiving R100 000.

Silver medallists will earn R200 000 and R50 000, while the bronze medal pay-outs will be R75 000 and R25 000 for the athlete and coach, respectively.

Minister of Sports, Arts Culture Gayton McKenzie handed over the national flag to the team following the announcement.

"I call you inspirational athletes," the minister said. 

"You are totally what we should be as South Africa. You are the epitome of where we should be as South Africans. You have risen above your own circumstances. You are, for all of us, the greatest inspiration, and I have no doubt that you will come back with gold."

McKenzie also pledged to provide financial support to the team. 

"My main priority, in as far as this inspirational team is concerned, is to make sure that they just don't shine on stage, but when they get home, they worry and stress about debts, about what are they going to eat tomorrow or how are they going to survive. 

"I promise right here on this stage that I am going to engage sponsors, I am going to engage the people in my department. So, luckily, I am in charge. I do not have to engage a lot."

Team SA Paris Paralympic squad thus far:

Archery: Shaun Anderson (W1)

Athletics:

Men: Mpumelelo Mhlongo (T44 100m and long jump), Kerwin Noemda (F46 shot put), Puseletso Mabote (T63 100m and long jump), Collen Mahlalela (T47 400m), Khumo Pitso (T46 high jump), Jaco Smit (T12 100m), Daniel du Plessis (T62 400m), Hermanus Blom (F12 shot put), Erasmus Badenhorst (guide, 1500m), Claus Kempen (guide, marathon)

Women: Simone Kruger (T38 discus), Sheryl James (T37 100m, 200m, 400m), Louzanne Coetzee (T11 1500m and marathon), Liezel Gouws (T37 200m and long jump), Yane van der Merwe (F44 discus)

Boccia: Karabo Cassius Morapedi (BC3), Matobako Vincent Ramochela (BC3 ramp operator), Elanza Jordaan (BC3), Sandre Jordaan (BC3 ramp operator)

Cycling: Pieter du Preez

Equestrian: Philippa Johnson-Dwyer, Christiaan Haazen (groom)

Swimming: 

Men: Nathan Hendricks (S13 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke, SB13 100m breaststroke), Christian Sadie (S7 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, SM7 200m individual medley)

Women: Alani Ferreira (S12 400m freestyle, SB12 100m breaststroke, SM12 200m Individual Medley, S12-S13 100m butterfly), Danika Vyncke (SB13 100m breaststroke), Kat Swanepoel (SM5 200m Individual Medley, S5 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, SB4 100m breaststroke, S14 400m freestyle).