The South African Paralympic team is in Brazil for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, with the aim of making their country proud during the competition, which runs from September 7 – 18.
The 45-person team is representing the country in a total of 10 sporting codes, including archery, athletics, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, powerlifting, rowing, swimming, shooting and wheelchair tennis.
Here are 12 of Team South Africa’s Paralympic Games athletes who are aiming for glory in Brazil.
Sources: DailyMaverick, IndependentOnline, DailyVox, Sascoc, TimesLive.
Fanie van der Merwe is one of the South Africans with serious pedigree in Rio, where he is competing in his third and final Paralympics. The T37 2008 and 2012 track gold medallist delivered in Rio, with a bronze medal in the 100m event.
Track and field star Hilton Langenhoven, who won three gold medals in Beijing eight years ago, is back on top for Team SA. Over the weekend Langenhoven celebrated winning South Africa’s second gold medal of the Games with a leap of 7.07m to take victory in the long jump.
South African world number three and two-time Grand Slam Champion Lucas Sithole is seeded number three in the quads singles event at the games, and is aiming for a podium finish after cruising through his earlier matches.
Ilse Hayes is a sprinter in the T13 category, and she will be aiming to replicate her gold medal winning performance in London four years ago. This is her fourth Games, and the humble athlete who suffers from Stargardt’s disease already managed to win silver in her T13 100m final.
Ernst van Dyk is South Africa’s most experienced paralympian, as he is competing in his seventh Paralympic Games in Brazil this year, with cycling and wheelchair racing on his agenda in Rio. The inspirational athlete continues to be an amazing ambassador for wheelchair racing and South Africa.
Eight years after winning a gold medal as a 17-year-old in Beijing, Kevin Paul earned South Africa’s first medal at the ongoing Paralympics in Rio with gold in the 100m breaststroke SB9. The 25-year-old stormed to victory in the pool on day one of the Games.
Khumalo is a rower for Team South Africa, having participated in the 2012 Games in London as the country’s only representative in the rowing division. Khumalo was paralysed in a car accident in 2005 when her spinal cord was damaged.
Zanele Situ won gold in the javelin in Sydney and was chosen to lead Team SA into the opening ceremony as the flag bearer, displaying the belief that many have in her as a medal hopeful.
Charl du Toit earned South Africa’s third gold of the Games with a victory in the T37 10om track final on Sunday. Du Toit broke the world record in the semi-finals with a barnstorming 11.42sec, before winning the final in a time of 11.45sec.
KG Montjane is the number 8 seed in the tennis women’s singles event. This year’s event is Montjane’s third Paralympics, after securing a wild card position to Beijing 2008 and qualifying on merit to London 2012.
Hassiem lost his leg in a shark attack while he and his brother were training to be lifeguards, but despite that ordeal he is a spokesman for the conservation of endangered shark species. The 100m butterfly bronze medallist from London 2012 was inspired by Natalie du Toit to swim when they studied together in 2007.
Philippa Johnson is representing South Africa in the equestrian discipline at Rio 2016, and will be aiming to add to the gold she won at the 2008 Beijing Games in the individual championship and freestyle test.