Team South Africa has named a 35 strong team for next January’s IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.
The squad, which is more than twice as big as the one they took to the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, includes a number of Paralympic gold medalists and new faces eager to prove themselves at the last major gathering of international athletes ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Amongst the 35 names is world acclaimed athlete Oscar Pistorius who will compete in the 100m, 200m and 400m (T44 class) – all races he won four years ago at the last IPC Athletics World Championships in Assen, Netherlands.
Triple gold medalist from the Beijing Paralymics in 2008, Hilton Langenhoven will also be in action as will be long-distance legend Ernst van Dyk. There’s also another Beijing gold medalist, among the eight-strong women’s team, in the shape of Ilse Hayes.
Dion Bishop, South Africa Team Manager, said: “It’s quite a large team that we’re taking to New Zealand and all the Paralympic medal winners are competing again, with Fanie Lombaard even coming back from ‘retirement’ to compete. I’m confident of us doing as well as we did in Beijing, although one obviously needs to take into account that a lot of new talent is included for the World Championships.”
“All the new athletes are exciting prospects, but the most promising according to current world rankings, are youngsters like Anrune Liebenberg (female, 17 years old) – currently ranked No 1 in the 400m (T46 class), Samkelo Radebe fresh from his Commonwealth Games silver medal in the T45/46 class and we are also very excited about the chances of the male cerebral palsy and amputee relay teams, currently ranked second and first with their times.”
The full SA team:
Oscar Pistorius, Fanie van der Merwe, Hilton Langenhoven, Teboho Mokgalagadi, Arnu Fourie, Samkelo Radebe, Jonathan Ntutu, Pieter du Preez, Fanie Lombaard, David Roos, Francois Badenhorst, Duane Strydom, Michael Louwrens, Nicholas Newman, Marius Stander, Jan Nero, Gerrit Kruger, Heugene Murray, Joshua Joubert, Casper Schutte, Bernard Haarhoff, Juandre Jenkinson, Ernst van Dyk, Mncedi Khanti, Ishmael Legodi. Relay specialists: Andrea Dalle Ave, Dyan Buis
Ilse Hayes, Anrune Liebenberg, Aleesha Gerber, Zanele Situ, Chenelle van Zyl, Juanelie Meijer, Given Ratsoma, Nontobeko Mabizela