Gaining on the Road to Tokyo

Stellenbosch, 2 April 2019 – Athletes associated with Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics and Is Ability Sports Club, helped Gauteng to a strong finish at this year’s Toyota SA SASAPD National Para Athletics Championships (17-21 March 2019, Stellenbosch).

Icexpress has been involved in Para Sport Development for more than a decade.

Apart from launching Is Ability Sports Club back in 2011, Icexpress CEO Johan Snyders also founded the Jumping Kids Prosthetic Fund; a registered charity providing access to mobility solutions and rehabilitation through sport for child amputees; in 2009.

The value of sport in the rehabilitation process is a key element in Snyders’ philosophy.

 Expanding the Scope

Is Ability Sports Club initially focused on athletes competing in the T/F 42-46 divisions for amputees; a number of whom are well-known Paralympians.  Always on the forefront of development, the Club now caters to world class T/F 36-38 (cerebral palsy) and F12 (visually challenged) competitors as well.

The introduction of a number of up-and-coming T61-63 (bilateral lower limb amputee) sprinters; the man to catch being our own Ntando Mahlangu (T61); makes for some exciting blade-racing leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Here’s a recap of the performances that included over 50 medals, 14 SA Records, 7 African Records and 5 World Records.

World Record News

Mpumelelo Mhlongo, our affiliate from the Western Cape, sprinted to Gold and a new World Record (0:11.41) in the Men’s Open 100m (T44) Final. He added Gold in the T44 200m (0:23.13) item, and Silver in the Long Jump with his best leap measuring 05.12 meters.

Four Golden Results

Our Masters Division ladies; Cecilia Schoeman and Kotie Potgieter, added four golden results between them at this year’s National Para-athletics Champs in Stellenbosch.

Gold for Cecilia in the Final Women’s Open Discus F63 (11.73), and Gold in the Women’s Open F57 Javelin (10.50), Shot Put (05.68) and Discus; with a new personal best distance measuring 13.78 meter; for Kotie.

World Record for Simone

Teenage Simone Kruger (T/F 38) again proved that she is ‘one to watch’ in the Women’s Open Division, winning Gold (02.75) in the Final Women’s Long Jump, followed by Gold and an African Record (10.16) in Shot Put, as well as, African and World Records in Discus with a throw measuring  33.09 meters.

Bilateral Blade Sprinters on Fire

Paralympian, Ntando Mahlangu was on fire; three world marks in the Men’s Open Finals T61 category – 100m (0:12.77 SAR WR), 200m (0:23.57 SAR WR) and Long Jump (06.47 SAR WR).

He added another two golden results in the 400m (0:48.64) and 800m (02:01.25) events.

Team Őssur T62 blade-sprinter, Paul Daniels dashed to gold and a new SA Record in the Men u/20 100m (0:12.76) for Western Province, while Tebogo Mofokeng, representing North West Province, produced a solid performance in the Men u/20 T 63 100m (0:12.59) and 200m (0:24.89) finals for Gold.

Daniel du Plessis, a relative new-comer at SA’s but not without international experience thanks to the IWAS World Games (12-16 February 2019, Sharjah), added another Gold and SA Record in the Men’s Open T62 400m (0:56.21) final, and a second Gold in the 100 clocking 11.97 seconds.

Sheryl James sets National Mark

On the track, Sheryl James; who represented South Africa at the IWAS World Games (12-16 February 2019, Sharjah) earlier this year; dashed to Gold and a new Women’s Open T37 SA Record in the 100m (0:14.20) dash.

She ended her campaign with two more Gold in the 200m (0:28.81) & 400m (1:06.83) Women’s Open T37 finals.

Two National Marks for Mandilene

Girls under 17 field athlete, Mandilene Hoffman celebrated a successful Toyota SA National Para-athletics Championships with Gold and SA Records in the F44 Discus (29.42) and Javelin (15.39) finals.

She added a third Gold for Gauteng in the F44 Shot Put (08.83) item.

SA Record & Three Gold

Competing for Gauteng in the Women u/20 division, Yane van der Merwe (F44) threw a 21.98 meter best; a new SA Record; in the Discus final. She added two more Gold, F44 Shot Put (07.88) and Javelin (24.02), for the Province.

Triple Gold for Jessica

Jessica Marggraf, who competes in the sprints using a customised upper limb prosthesis similar to that used by Paralympian Anrune Weyers , secured another three Gold medals for Gauteng in the Final Girls u/17 T47 200m (0:31.25), 400m (1:06.79) and Long Jump (03.30) events.

Shout-Out to the Throwers

The Men’s Open field events produced some exciting performances.

Paralympic bronze medallist and Toyota SA ambassador; Tyrone Pillay started things of with Gold (12.44) for KwaZulu-Natal in the Men’s F63 Shot Put. Nicholas Strydom, who competes from a seated position, followed with F57 Shot Put Gold (10.35) for Gauteng.

Visually impaired athlete, Hermanus Blom threw to Gold (44.75) for Gauteng in the Men’s F12 Discus final. He followed that performance with Gold, also an SA and African Record (14.79), in the Men’s F12 Shot Put.

In the F64 division, Is Ability Sports Club’s Tiaan Huyzers heaved to a third place finish in the Men’s Open Shot Put. Gold went to Jean Joubert (12.26 SAR AFR), and Silver to Lean Simon (11.19 SAR AFR) both representing Western Province.

Huyzers, who hails from the North West Province, completed his Nationals campaign with Gold (25.19) in the Men’s F44 Discus.

Gold Start & Solid Debut

Shane Smit started things off for Gauteng on the first day of athletics with Gold in the Men’s Open 5000m T36 event. Over the 200 meter dash, it was no podium, but still a solid debut from Meonn de Villiers in the Men’s Open T37 division; running a 30.64 second finish for fifth place.

Investing in the future

Kids associated with Icexpress’ social initiative; Jumping Kids produced further excellent results at Coetzenburg Stadium this year.

Para Athletics is a valuable tool to promote participation and integration. Spearheaded by Jumping Kids founder, Johan Snyders, Jumping Kids has been staging ‘Exhibition Races’ as far back as 2010.

Here’s a recap of top performances by our younger affiliates:

T/F64 athlete, Emile Burgers; our ambassador involved with the Jumping Kids initiative since its launch ten years ago; won Gold in the Final Boys u / 17 100m (0:09:33), Discus (30.70) and Javelin items –  with a whopping 45.60 meters Javelin result for a new SA Record.

In the T42 division, Puseletso Mabote raced to Final Boys u / 15 100m Gold (0:13.56), 200m Gold (0:28.41) and Long Jump Gold with an African Record (04.64) setting best leap measuring 04.64 meters.

Megan Croucamp continued her Nationals medals streak with Gold in the Final Girls u / 17 T/F 42 100m (0:20.16)), Long Jump (02.54), Shot Put (07.03) and Javelin items.

Kim MacDonald; who is associated with Jumping Kids through its ‘Hope School Project’; followed suit with Gold in the Final Women u / 20 T/F 64 100m (0:18.28) Shot Put (04.70) and Long Jump Finals.

Back to the boys division; Pierre Thomas added three top podiums for North West Province with Gold in the Final Boys u / 17 T44 100m (0:17.03), T64 High Jump (01.35) and F64 Shot Put (06.77) items.

Also on form, our young ambassador from Zimbabwe; Pride Mafira added another three to the tally with Gold in the Final Boys u /15 T44 100m (0:20.55), Long Jump (02.39) and Shot Put finals.

Kgotso Letsoalo, Jumping Kids ambassador since 2010 who competes from a seated position, added Gold in the Boys u/17 Javelin (F57) final with his best measuring 12.92 meters. He also achieved Gold in the Discus (15.54) and Silver in the Shot Put (06.58) finals in his division.

In further field action, Lesego Kakana; herself  a Jumping Kids ambassador since her first above-knee mobility solution back in 2010; added another Silver with a throw measuring 4.85m in the Girls u/17 Shot Put (F42) division.

Last but not least, a Jumping Kids ambassador since the charity’s launch in 2009; Mpho Madulwane rounded things off for Gauteng with Gold in the Final Women u/20 F52 Shot Put with her best heave measuring 02.94 meters.

There you have it; more than 50 medals, 14 SA Records, 7 African Records and 5 World Records for athletes with links to Icexpress dating back, in some cases,  ten years. For more information on Is Ability Sports Club visit www.icexpress.co.za

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Author: Liezel van Rensburg

Photographer: Martin Potgieter