Athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments are set to showcase their talent at the national championship of the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD).
Approximately 790 athletes from five African nations, including South Africa, are expected to arrive in Bloemfontein today (28/03).
The other competing nations are Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Kenya.
This action-packed sporting event is expected to start tomorrow (29/03) and end on Monday (02/04).
Athletes will compete in seven sporting codes at different venues in Bloemfontein.
The sporting codes include para-athletics, para-cycling, boccia, judo for the blind, para-powerlifting, goalball for the blind and football for athletes with cerebral palsy.
Jan Wahl, chairperson of the FSSAPD, said the SASAPD football team will play against Kenya in this year’s International Federation Cerebral Palsy Football African Championship.
“This is a first for Africa, and will be utilised for preparations in the possible African Cup which will form part of the qualification for the Paralympics.”
The track and field events will be the main attraction, with prominent athletes billed to compete in the various events.
These top-performers competed in the World Para Athletics Championship held in London in July last year.
Louzanne Coetzee, Bloemfontein’s visually-impaired runner, is set to compete in the 800 m, 1 500 m and 5 000 m races in the T11 category. This middle-distance runner hopes to earn a medal on home soil and build her reputation.
Other South African athletes set to compete are Liezel Gouws (200 m, 400 m and 800 m), Tyrone Pillay (shot put), Dineo Mokhosoa (discus, long jump and shot put), Maria Combrink, Hermanus Blom, Kerwin Noemdoe (all three shot put and discus), Mpumelelo Mhlongo (200 m, 400 m and long jump), Ruhan van Rooyen (100 m and 200 m), Anrune Liebenberg (200 m and 400 m), Ntando Mahlangu (100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 800 m) and Andrea Dalle Ave (long jump).
The Free State Sport Association for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired (FSSAPD) has been chosen as the host for the 2018 SASAPD national championship.