Para Sport News - Classes expolained

The SA para-track and field team arrived safely in Brazzaville, Congo for the athletics event that kicks off on Monday, 14 September. This, the 11th edition of the African Games, also marks its 50th anniversary and a return to Brazzaville, where the first edition of the “All Africa Games” was hosted back in 1965. Apart from two unfortunate withdrawals due to injury – Ilse Hayes (T13)* and Liezel Gouws (T37)* – the team is intact and include the following athletes and officials:

Women

Johanna Pretorius (T13), Carley Lomax (T12)

Men

Danie Breitenbach (T11), Hilton Langenhoven (T12), Jonathan Ntutu (T12), Fanie van der Merwe (T37), Gerrit Hendricks (T54), Tyrone Pillay (F42), Heugene Murray (F42), Michael Louwrens (F57), Christiaan du Plessis (F57)

Officials

Karin Le Roux, Raymond Julius, Marius Wessels

South Africa’s para-team has a lot to prove at the Games as it holds numerous African Records, such as those held by T37 sprinter, Fanie van der Merwe. Van der Merwe, who represented South Africa at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, holds the African Record in both the 100 meter (11.51s) and 200 meter (23.10s) dashes.

On the field, multiple Paralympic gold medallist, Michael Louwrens (F57) joins the team to compete for the title of African Record holder in shot-put, while Tyrone Pillay and Heugene Murray chases Fanie Lombaard’ F42 shot-put record of 13.81 meters.

For the majority of the para-team, the Brazzaville Games presents an important stepping stone for the IPC World Championships taking place in Doha next month. It is an opportunity to apply aspects of training in a competitive environment and we are all excited to give it our best shot,” says team manager, Karin Le Roux.

In further para-sport news, 2012 Paralympic double medallist, Arnu Fourie ran a top three 100m ‘come-back’ race (11.17s) at the IAAF Diamond League event in Brussels last night. Gold went to Great Brittan’s Jonny Peacock (10.99s), and silver to Germany’s Felix Streng (11.08s).

Fourie, who has not been able to compete for more than a year due to injury, holds the African Record in both the T44 100m (11.08s) and 200m (22.49s) events. “The last thirteen months has taught me to take things one day at a time and to trust the recovery process. Although my time last night is not exactly where I want it to be, I have a strong team around me and look forward to giving it my all in Doha next month,” says Fourie.

*A word on classification: To understand Paralympic Sport, one has to understand the classes. Here is a simple guide applicable to the attached article to get you started.

T11 – visually impaired, runs with a guide T12 – visually impaired T37 – cerebral palsy F42 – amputee, above-knee T44 – amputee, below knee F57 – spinal cord injury, competes seated

Article written by Liezel van Rensburg