SASAPD Championships last chance for SA para-athletes to qualify for Paralympics

“This will be the last possible chance to have qualification opportunity as we cannot travel to other countries for events due to COVID travel regulations," said SASAPD’s Jan Wahl.

FILE: SA para-athlete and world champion Mpumelelo Mhlongo. Picture: Cape Talk

JOHANNESBURG - The Toyota National Championships for the physically disabled will go ahead this year from 23 to 27 April after being cancelled in March 2020.

The upcoming South African Sports Association For Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships will be the last chance for para-athletes to qualify for the Paralympics which will be hosted between 24 August and 5 September 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

At the Rio Paralympic Games, South Africa won 17 medals - 7 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze.

“This will be the last possible chance to have qualification opportunity as we cannot travel to other countries for events due to COVID travel regulations," said SASAPD’s Jan Wahl.

"This also helps with possible slot generation and better World Para Athletics (WPA) rankings and this will be a WPA sanctioned Event.”

South Africa’s para-athletes will take part in an Athletics South Africa (ASA) event this weekend ahead of the championships.

“The para-athletes have been taking part in ASA Events and they will be taking part at the ASA National Championships in Pretoria from 15 to 18 April,” said Wahl.

To adhere with the government's COVID-19 regulations, there will be a limit as to who can attend the event and no media will be allowed to attend the games.

“All the COVID regulations have been put in place at all the venues as put out by the government and no spectators will be allowed at the events. The motto of keeping your distance, wearing a mask and sanitising will be met at all the events.”

To be considered for the South African para-athletics team heading to Tokyo it's necessary to tick the following boxes:

• An athlete must compete at SASAPD National Championships in the year of the team being selected. For absence due to medical reasons, a medical certificate must be supplied to the Athletics Convener. Athletes with medical certificates and a proven track record will be considered if selection criteria are met.

• A top ranking will not be an automatic qualification if selection criteria are not met.

• The athlete must be in good standing with SASAPD, SASCOC, their club and province.

• Must hold an IPC (International Paralympic Committee) licence for the 2021 calendar year.

• Licence fees must be fully paid.

• Must achieve at least B qualifications as per selection standards.

• All field event performances must be with senior implements.

SASAPD sent out a long list for the Paralympic team in January which will be updated on 30 April 2021 after the championships. Here are a few of the athletes who made the long list and a look at where they ranked in the world by the end of 2019:

NTANDO MAHLANGU

Mahlangu lined up at his first Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. At just 14-years-old - one of the youngest competitors at the Games - he finished second behind Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead in the men’s 200m T42, setting a new African record (23.77) in the process.

At the end of 2019 in the T61 category, he ranked first in the world in the 200m and holds a world record of 0:23.03. He also holds a world record of 0:48.31 and ranked first in the 400m, as well as first in the 800m and long jump.

MPUMELELO MHLONGO

Mhlongo has competed in the 100m, 200m, long jump and high jump. The chemical engineering PhD student holds a world record in the 100m in his category (T44) of 11 sec.

He ranks first in the 200m with a world record of 0:23.13. He holds a world record of 7.07 in the long jump and ranks first in the world.

ANRUNE WEYERS

Weyers is a two-time Paralympian and World Champion, and if selected for Tokyo 2021 it will be her third Paralympic Games.

At the end of 2019 Weyers held a world record in the 400m of 0:55.60 in the T46/47 and ranked first in the world.

The rest of the athletes in the long list are:

Males
Reinhardt Hamman
Charl Du Toit
Ndodomzi Ntutu
Chane Hendriks
Hilton Langenhoven
Kerwin Noemdo
Dyan Buis
Jaco Smit
Brandon Beack
Tyrone Pillay
Rouvaun Wallace
Lean Simon
Ayanda Langa
Ruhan van Rooyen
Emile Burgers
Danie Breitenbach
Union Sekailwe
Daniel Briers-Louw
Sadha Felix
Obed Lekhehle
Puseletso Michael Mabote
Pieter Du Preez
Daniel Du Plessis
Tebogo Mofokeng
Ernst Francois van Dyk

Females
Simone Kruger
Sheryl James
Johanna Pretorius
Louzanne Coetzee
Ntombizanele Situ
Liezel Gouws
Mandilene Hoffmann
Maria Combrink
Marle van Wyk
Charne Felix
Yane van der Merwe

Guides
Claus Kempen
Xavier Adams
Oratile Molale

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