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Cape Town – Well – wishes have been pouring in for the South African Paralympic team who arrived in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday to represent the country at the 2020 Paralympics Games.
The Paralympic Games will start on August 24 and end on September 5, and 34 South African athletes across seven sporting codes will be competing.
Sprinter and long jumper, Dyan Buis, said he was excited to represent the country in one of the highest platforms that sport has to offer.
The Paralympian, who has had cerebral palsy since birth, won a gold medal in the T38 400m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Buis said he was looking forward to represent his home town Riversdale and millions of South Africans.
“In terms of medals, there is no pressure at the moment, because I am out there to glorify God, in every step and in every jump that I will take, and if I get a medal that’s just a bonus.
“And I am very happy that I have a lot of people backing me and supporting me, my family and my wife Erna, and my two kids, they have sacrificed quite a lot for me to be here, and when I go compete, I know that I am not only doing it only for myself but I am also doing it for them,” he said.
Buis said he was confident in his fitness, despite the long journey to the Paralympics, on account of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Star sprinter Mpumelelo Mhlongo said he was extremely excited for the Games to start.
The para-athlete, who broke his own sprint record in Dubai in 2019, has overcome the odds of being born with amniotic band syndrome, which resulted in club foot and his right leg being shorter than his left.
“The usual world stage nerves and jitters are there but guided with a sturdy purpose. Let these Paralympic Games open up the hearts of many South Africans to receiving the light we all deserve,” he said.
Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC, Anroux Marais, congratulated all participants on their selection with a special acknowledgement of the Western Cape team members.
“It is heartening to see how many of our Western Cape participants have been selected for this prestigious event. The selection of participants for this team is the result of thousands of hours of training, commitment and preparation.
“Our Western Cape Paralympic participants have always done us proud at these Games. I wish them all the very best as they travel to Tokyo and I know that they will do us proud.”