The Paralympic games finished just under a month ago in Rio with South Africa finishing in 22nd place with 17 medals, of which 7 were gold. After all our hockey lately, we thought it would be great to analyse the South African Paralympic medalists for South Africa, including all 78 gold medals won since return from international sporting isolation.
Incredibly of the 185 medals South Africa has won at the Paralympic games since 1992 in Barcelona, Natalie du Toit individually won 15 of which 13 were gold. Incredibly those 13 gold medals by Natalie eclipse the total gold medals South Africa have won in the Olympic Games during this time (9).
Another multiple medal winner is the evergreen Fanie Lombaard who has collected 12 medals (8 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze) over 4 separate games. Of course disgraced Oscar Pistorius won 8, but his legacy will not be from great sportsmanship. Ernst van Dyk has also collected 8 medals, winning just his second ever gold medal this year at Rio. Incredibly van Dyk, who could arguably lay claim to the title of SA’s greatest sportsman with a disability has medalled in 5 different games starting at Athens in 2000.
The two most successful sports in South Africa’s Paralympic history mirror that of the Olympic Games with Swimming and Athletics rising to the top. Incredibly we have won 52 gold medals in Athletics with a further 24 in swimming.
In terms of the most successful years that South Africa has had at the Paralympic games since the return from sporting wilderness, two years stand out. In 2000 at the home of the Olympic Games, team South Africa picked up 38 medals of which 13 were gold. Our most golden year of course though was in 2008 in Beijing when incredibly 21 gold medals were won out of a total of 30.
Its hard to get anything other than proud when watching the South African Paralympic stars and we at Sports 24 Seven are proud to support these incredible athletes!