Paralympics

Slattery to carry SA flag

2008-09-16 15:56
ta
Honour for Tadgh Slattery

Beijing - Tadhg Slattery will carry the flag for South Africa in Wednesday’s closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

The 34-year-old veteran of five Paralympics won a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke in Beijing, and celebrated it as if he had won in a world record.

But what was significant - and instrumental in his selection as the flag-bearer - was a comment by Natalie du Toit soon after he won the medal.

She called Slattery "the heart and soul of the team", and many other athletes referred to the man who is deaf and has cerebral palsy as someone who constantly lifted the spirits of the team during an arduous 11-day campaign at the games.

He developed a reputation for outlandish hairstyles during previous Paralympics, but this time, he went the shaven-headed route - perhaps to save on the weight of a swimming cap.

He is a former world-record holder in his SB5 category, with the 1:32.14 he set in 2002.

He announced his retirement after both the Sydney and the Athens Paralympics, but was back for more in Beijing, and has been honoured for his contribution to the Paralympic movement in South African as well as to the success of the team at the Beijing Games.

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