As the spotlight now shifts to the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) is confident that the 45 athletes selected to represent the country will give a good account of themselves.
Gideon Sam, Sascoc’s president, is hopeful that Team SA will bring more medals than the 29 they won during the London Games four years ago. If not, argued Sam, they should win more gold medals so they can improve their position on the medal table.
Sam said he had no doubt that the athletes would make the country proud.
“There is no pressure on them, but they know what do to,” said Sam this week.
“We said to them that they must stick to the 29 [medals] they brought home previously, and if it is less, it has to be more gold medals,” said Sam.
“The good thing with this team is that one athlete can give you three medals as they compete in more than one discipline, and we are confident they will do their best.”
The Olympic body has dangled a fat carrot for the medallists and Sam said the amount was the same as for the Olympians.
For every gold medal won, the athlete will receive R500 000, of which R100 000 will go to their coach.
For a silver medal, the athletes will get R200 000 and R50 000 will go to their coach, and a bronze is worth R80 000 with R20 000 for the mentor.
The country’s hopes will rest on the likes of wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole, who was knocked out in the last 16 in London four years ago, wheelchair cycling racer Ernst van Dyk, and Hilton Langenhoven, who will take part in the track and field events.
The Paralympic Games start on Wednesday and will run for 12 days