Cape Town - KwaZulu-Natal-based Gold Circle Horseracing and Betting has enabled three Paralympian
equestrian contenders to realise their dreams of potentially competing in the
Rio Paralympics 2016 campaign in September.
In an announcement made this week,
Gold Circle confirmed that they will be sponsoring the possible ladies Dressage South Africa’s Paralympic
The trio is
delighted that the remaining sponsorship required for their potential entry
into the Rio
Paralympics 2016 campaign in September has been granted.
The final-three, Shani
de Beer, Tamsin Mbatsha-Bouwer and Philippa Johnson-Dwyer,
took a leap of faith by competing in Europe without sponsorship confirmation.
They are currently in Belgium with the goal of qualifying for placement in the
Paralympics in Rio.
Comments de Beer: “It
was touch and go until the very last minute knowing if we would get sponsorship
or not, so of course we are now thrilled to find out that we will be able to
make our dreams a reality. We haven’t been sponsored before, so this is very
big - it highlights the development of the sport in South Africa. We are
grateful to our sponsors for their wonderful generosity. Thank-you Gold
Under the sponsorship of
Gold Circle, the squad is competing in three international events in Europe,
the first of which has been completed in Deauville, France.
According to Ingeborg
Sanne, who runs the international portfolio for Dressage SA, Philippa
Johnson–Dwyer did extremely well - at medal level - scoring 75.6% for freestyle
and 71.27% in individual and 71.29% in team categories. Shani de
Beer scored 66.25% in freestyle, 64.94% in individual and 63.97% in team, while
Tamsin Mbatsha-Bouwer received 64.28% for individual and 55.52% for team, in
which she competed for the first time. She did not qualify for the freestyle
The second heats
finished in Belgium this weekend (April 22-24) and the third will take place in
Mannheim in Germany in May. The final results of all three heats will determine
eligibility for entry into the Paralympic Games. The heats vary according to
the grade of the rider’s physical impairment and there are five grades, each
with its own list of physical disabilities.
The South African
Paralympic equestrian squad competitors all have varying degrees of disability:
Shani de Beer (23) has Cerebal Palsy Grade II, Tamsin Mbatsha-Bouwer (17)
Cerebal Palsy Grade IB and Philippa Johnson- Dwyer (41) Spinal Cord Injuries
The Paralympics in Rio
offer three dressage classes that the potential ladies South African Paralympic
equestrian squad can compete in: FEI Individual Test, FEI Team Test and FEI
Freestyle. Based on their recent successes, there is little doubt that the
South American continent is just a flight away for the South Africa team
competitions for riders with disabilities have their roots in the 1970s in
Scandinavia and Great Britain, with South Africa’s first year of participation
in the Paralympics in 1996.