Paralympian Kerwin Noemdo keen to do his bit to help para-sport grow in SA

Paralympian Kerwin Noemdo has partnered up with tech start-up, MatchKit, so that he can continue to raise South Africa's flag high.

Top South African para-athlete, Kerwin Noemdo. Picture:@MatiesSport/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The sporting season is in full swing as athletes across various sporting codes compete at national championships as qualifiers for upcoming international competitions.

Eyewitness News caught up with one of South Africa’s top para-athletes, Kerwin Noemdo, to talk about his journey as an athlete and the obstacles he faces when it comes to funding.

"I wish to see para-sport grow immensely in this country. I would like to see the commercialisation of para-sport expanding its reach and getting more eyes and ears on para-sport, getting more mouths talking. Once we have all those, para-sports will grow," said Noemdo who represents South Africa in shot put.

READ: Sparse funding has a debilitating impact on SA's para-athletes

The para-athlete recently took part in the Winelands International Para Athletics Competition held in Stellenbosch, where he recorded 951 Raza points, finishing second overall to Simone Kruger.

[READ: Para-athlete Simone Kruger opens athletics season with 4 records](

"My performance at Winelands International was okay for the first competition of the year, it is a good season opener. Throwers always wish they could have thrown further and they know they could, but all in all, I’m happy with how it went."

Raza points are a method in paralympic athletes' field competitions for competing throws or jumps by athletes of differing levels of disabilities.

"I would like to see buy-in from corporates as well, not taking anything away from professional athletes in other sports but I think para-athletes each have a unique story and I think corporates could really help in sharing the individuals’ stories and motivating the public while giving people hope and spreading positivity," said Noemdo.

The thrower set an African record at the 2022 IWAS Games (The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports World Games) in Portugal and an African record in Gqeberha at the 2021 Toyota SASAPD National Championships.

"Recently, I’ve partnered with MatchKit to help raise funds for para-sport as it is an open and transparent platform to build my profile and raise funds for my training and preparation needs. People can support me by going to to view my profile, which has links to my various social media platforms and a link to the crowdfunding platform where people can financially support me and other Olympic/Paralympic hopefuls to help them on their journey to Paris and beyond," said Noemdo.

MatchKit’s goal is to help South African athletes and teams raise funds for competition. Co-founded by Bryan Habana and Mike Sharman, the tech start-up helped the South African Men’s Hockey Team to raise over R300,000 in order to compete at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

"I am hoping to compete in at least two European competitions before World Championships because our local competitions are no longer competitive for me. I would like to compete with those in my class who are top five or top 10 in the world because of the extra pressure for me to perform. I’m looking to compete in June, hopefully at the Czech Republic para-athletics competitions, as well as Germany, also in June, about a week or so apart from two competitions."

MatchKit also used its technology and social media platforms, to raise close to R500,000 in medal bonuses for Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag.

"Choose an athlete you would like to 'adopt' for Paris - from crowdfunding to bespoke sponsorship packages - MatchKit can facilitate an auditable, transparent solution and issue you a section 18A certificate, for a possible tax deduction," said MatchKit co-founder Mike Sharman.

SA’s para-athlete Kerwin Noemdo has represented the country at three World Para Athletics Championships (2013, 2017, 2019) and hopes to raise the flag high again this year. The 2023 World Para Athletics Championships are scheduled to be held in Paris, France from 8-17 July, 2023.