Paralympians to Compete in One of the World’s Most Prestigious Sporting Events
Eighteen South African athletes are planning to take the country’s flag to new heights at the Paralympic Games which take place from 7 to 18 September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wishing them well, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) hosted a formal farewell for these sports stars at the Royal Cape Yacht Club on Saturday 20 August 2016.
In true Olympian fashion, athletes and guests gathered enthusiastically for a ceremonial lighting of the torch to signify that the Games are about to begin. Video clips were shown to provide further motivation in showing what the Paralympians are capable of despite their disabilities and, in a hall packed with people, the athletes contributed to the positive atmosphere, serving as an inspiration to everybody around them.
On behalf of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, Russell Vollmer opened the day’s proceedings. “It is a privilege for us to welcome you all to this auspicious occasion (and) it is an honour and a privilege for me to represent our club,” he said. “To all the athletes: go and deliver your very best. Fight hard for those medals, always remain humble, and last but not least, have fun!”
Ilse Hayes, who will be competing in her fourth Paralympic Games this year, congratulated her fellow athletes on their selection and wished them all of the best. She encouraged each individual to go to Rio and show the world what they are made of. “Never again will we be this specific team going to Rio,” said Hayes. “Be present in every moment and make memories.”
DCAS Minister Anroux Marais was filled with pride at the farewell and pleased to honour each of the athletes at this occasion. She described the Paralympians as “the hope of our nation” and “beacons of inspiration”. “Not only does your unwavering dedication, self-determination, excellence in sport and will to succeed afford you the opportunity to represent South Africa in Rio, but you have become the crème de la crème of our country, our province and especially your communities. We need you at this very moment, and I encourage you today to take your deserved spot at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio,” she said.
Let us continue to be proud supporters of the exceptional Paralympians and encourage excellence and dedication in sport, BETTER TOGETHER.