NEDBANK National Championships for the disabled

SA records fall as disabled athletes show their style

Two favourites from the Greek Paralympics, Natalie du Toit and Tebogo Mokgalagade, both smashed their own world records at the Nedbank National Championships for the Disabled.

On the third day of the Championships Natalie broke her own world record in the 400m free style race, swimming the distance in the time of 4 minutes, 27,14 seconds, shaving 0,54 seconds off her previous mark.

Tebogo Mokgalagade, Free State’s favourite son of sprinting, sent his own 400m world record spinning on the third day of track and field action at the Championships clocking in at 1: 04,16 sec, well inside his previous world best of 1: 06,60.

“I have been participating in track and field races against able-bodied opponents this season and this have given me added motivation to go even faster and I have set a goal of bringing further glory to Team South Africa in Beijing in three years time,” said Mokgalagade.

The Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled took place from the 12 – 20 March.

Tadhg Slattery and Natalie du Toit dur¬ing the launch of the 2005 Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled.

Natalie du Toit during the launch of the Nedbank Championships.

Athletes competed in sport codes ranging from archery, athletics, basketball, boccia, cycling, equestrian, goalball, soccer, table tennis, tennis, swimming to powerlifting.

Zanele Situ, Natalie du Toit and Ntombo Somtswayi at the Championships.

Besides Du Toit and Mokgalagade, Paralympics stars Handri de Beer and Charles Bouwer showed just why they were part of the national team to the Paralympics in Athens last year, as the SA records kept crashing. Pretoria-based De Beer and Northern Cape’s Bouwer set new SA bests of 1:22,10 and 1:17,69 in the 100 metres breaststroke (SB7 category) and 100 metres butterfly (S13 category) respectively.

This year Dutch and British swimmers competing in the Championships are being credited with adding an edge to the swimming competition, which resulted in officials rewriting the South African record books.

On the opening day of the Nedbank Championships it was announced that sport for the disabled will be taken to new heights under the newly-formed umbrella banner of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committees (SASCOC).

SA Sport Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) President Koos Engelbrecht, and his newly-elected executive committee, have set a goal repositioning the SASAPD brand, raising the organisation’s profile, and creating closer working relationships with sponsors.

“The SASAPD, currently celebrating its 42nd year of existence, will leave no stone unturned in managing sport for the visually impaired or blind, amputees, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or Les au Tres (other categories), as we strive to unearth stars of the future that will be role models and medal candidates for Team SA at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing,” said Engelbrecht.

Nedbank are the title sponsors of the Championships and Greg Garden of Nedbank said, “The athletes competing at these Championships have shown time and again that discipline, courage and commitment are key factors to success. As a Proudly South African company we applaud their efforts and commitment.”

Photos: © Lee Warren Touchline Photos

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