Sasol tops up SA paralympic team

05 July 2006

The South African Paralympic team will be reaching new frontiers thanks to a generous R3,5 million sponsorship by SASOL as part of the team's preparations for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

At a launch at the Mandeville Indoor Sports Club in Bezuidenhoudt Valley, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 5 July, SASOL announced that it will be one of the major sponsors of this team as they prepare for the September 2008 showpiece in China.
The sponsorship will prove vital to South Africa's hopes of continuing its strong showing at recent Paralympics.
The SA team returned from Athens in 2004 with 15 gold, 13 silver and 7 bronze medals, and Sydney in 2000 produced 13 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals.
“The South African Paralympic team has been an inspiration to all South Africans. We have been awed and motivated by the tremendous courage and determination of these athletes to succeed,” said Trevor Munday, Sasol Deputy CE.
“We are delighted and honoured to add the South African Paralympic team to our sports sponsorships which include the Springbok rugby team, the National U/23 soccer team – well known as the Ama-glugglug – and various motor racing sponsorships. This sponsorship resonates strongly with us at Sasol in terms of the determination of the paralympians, the standards they pursue and their endearing spirit of fine sportsmanship and team work,” added Munday.
“Sasol's sponsorship is critical for the South African Paralympic team to continue improving and bringing home more medals,” said Pieter Badenhorst, Chairman of High Performance Commission of Disability Sport South Africa (DISSA).
“Our athletes have done us very proud over the years. But there is no time to rest on any laurels. The standard of Paralympic competition has improved vastly. Many nations are taking sport for people with a disability more seriously now as is evident by the increase in the number of participating nations and improved overall results at the Paralympics,” added Badenhorst.
The Sasol sponsorship has also raised the funding bar in Paralympic sport, where teams from some of the world's richest nations still struggle with funding.
Great Britain sent only two competitors to the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City, both of whom were ranked within the top 30 in their respective events. Yet the duo received just under R20 000 in funding. In contrast, the country's Olympic team received around R52-million.
South Africa's Paralympic athletes remain amongst the best in the world in their respective disciplines. Wheelchair star Ernst van Dyk received one of the highest accolades in sport when he won the award of World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for 2006 at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Barcelona last month. Oscar Pistorius and Natalie du Toit both won double gold at the recent Visa Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, with Du Toit smashing two world records in the pool.

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