Disabled athletes break 97 SA and 11 African records at SASAPD national champs

The championships took place under the theme: ‘Start Your Impossible,' and attracted entries in Para-Athletics, Boccia, Goalball, CP Football, Judo, Powerlifting, and Para-Cycling inclusive of athletes from eight African countries.

The South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships took place from 19 to 22 March at the Germiston Stadium in Ekurhuleni. Picture: SASAPD/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - The 60th edition of the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships took place from 19 to 22 March at the Germiston Stadium in Ekurhuleni, with para-athletes competing in various sporting codes.

"Between 19 and 22 March, 541 South African athletes broke 97 SA records and 11 African records. This achievement is especially remarkable given the athletes are physically disabled," said SASAPD on this week.

The championships took place under the theme: ‘Start Your Impossible' and attracted entries in Para-Athletics, Boccia, Goalball, CP Football, Judo, Powerlifting, and Para-Cycling inclusive of athletes from eight African countries.

“We are delighted that after six decades, our athletes are still able to achieve their dreams, and set their targets for qualification in the 2024 Paralympics to be hosted by Paris," said president of the SASAPD, Moekie Grobbelaar.

The championships also saw the return of Mpumalanga, although not as a participant until 2023.

Grobbelaar said: “The province has been affiliated with Gauteng until now. What was also notable is the much larger contingent from Limpopo, particularly in the Boccia event.”

Boccia is a stand-alone disability code, which means it is not included in able-bodied sports federations in South Africa.

"In being sport-specific to the disabled community, it is being advanced on the continent by SASAPD, which will be hosting the first African Boccia Championship in April," she added.

READ: Simone Kruger hopes to make her mark at the SASAPD championships

One of the athletes who shined brightly at the SASAPD National Championships was 16-year-old Simone Kruger, who broke the SA and African records in the Discus for Women F38 and threw a new PB in the Shotput Women F38 category.

"As a coach and a father, I am ecstatic about her performance but more about the character and passion she showed during the championships," said Andries Kruger of her daughter's performance.

Other field sport record-breakers were Mandeline Hoffman (F44 Discus), Mzinadoda Camba (F43 Javelin), Katinka Fox (F38 Javelin), Tyrone Pillay (F63 Discus), Kim Macdonald (F64 Long Jump), Fabian Michaels (F35 Discus), Louisa Mapayini (F42 Shotput) and Kerwin Noemdo (F46 Shotput).

While powerlifting saw three national records broken; the Northern Cape’s Bonolo Lizwe set a new mark in the deadlift at 176kg, and Eastern Cape's Alulutho Makapela and Mbasa Qilingele benched 55kg and 83kg respectively. Adrian van Schalkwyk was named best junior lifter and Marshall Marsh the best senior lifter.

The host province, Gauteng, topped the athletics medal table winning 97 medals, with Western Cape second wth 26 medals.