Cape Town - Mere hours away from the 2016 Paralympic Games opening ceremony in Rio de
Janeiro and Team SA athletes are itching to get going.
According to the SASCOC website, track and field coach, Suzanne
Ferreira said: ”Rio has been a pleasant surprise so far. The village is
absolutely great. It was also awesome to see some of our old friends
from other countries as well.
"The welcoming ceremony was a good reminder of the privilege we have to
be here and united as a “sport family” in one village. The team spirit
is excellent as always.
"We got the travel fatigue out of the athletes bodies with an easy
session and the sprinters bodies responded with a
great session. All are excited."
One of Ferreira’s athletes, Fanie van der Merwe, is competing in his
third Olympics and the T37 2008 and 2012 track gold medallist is
preparing for his final Paralympics, having already wrapped up his
career on South African soil.
"I’m really excited about Rio, Team SA has a great spirit going, and I’m
thankful to be here! I’m excited for what lies ahead and training is also
going well here! I love the people here.’
And his Paralympic gold medal colleague from Stellenbosch, Ilse Hayes, a
sprinter in the T13 category, is another Team SA athlete in high
"Wow, what a cool village. My view from my bed is the most
amazing rolling hills. The village is bustling full of excited athletes
ready to compete.
"It was also good to see all my friends from around the world who I’ve met over the years.
"And I just realise that this is what it’s all about. Building
relationships and inspiring others. I’m very happy and privileged to be
at my fourth Paralympics and super excited to shine God’s light on the
"It's a young team here with many new faces but I’m enjoying getting to
know everyone better and some of them have lovely spirit so I’m having a
lot of fun."
As far as the business side of things, and Hayes is happy. ‘Prep is
going really well. I’m feeling strong and confident. Now I just have to
stay focused on what is important.
"I live by the motto of challenging myself to be the best version of
myself everyday so that’s what I want to achieve here in Rio.
"To be a better version than four years ago... on and off the track. And
also physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually.
"I want to run limitlessly for God and experience His presence every
step of the way."
The Rio Paralympics will take place between September 7-18.