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2020 Tokyo Paralympic Qualifying Spot on the cards for SA Wheelchair Teams

Sasol Amawheela Boys team

The South African Sasol Amawheela Men and Women’s teams hope to tap into home ground advantage when they battle it out for a spot in the IWBF Afro Paralympic Qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.  This top of the table spectacle, will be held at the Home of Wheelchair Basketball SA, Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Centre, in Johannesburg from the 1st till 7th March 2020. 

The home teams will welcome four African Countries to the City of Gold, namely Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Kenya.  Anticipation is mounting as we count down the days into this exciting showpiece.

The South African men’s team will be led by the first ever appointed female Head Coach to take the SASOL AmawheelaBoys into a tournament of this magnitude.

The Cape Town born, Lydia Dumond, is the first female coach to ever be entrusted with the role of Head Coach of a SA Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball team, in the history of African Basketball.  Wheelchair Basketball CEO, Charles Saunders said, transformation and development of local coaches is the cornerstone of WBSA’s future success,  especially when assessing development of the sport in South Africa. 

“Coach Dumond has done well since taking over from former French Coach Frank Belen.”   Saunders said everything is in order, South Africa is ready to host, and these are exciting times for the Federation. 

Dumond said she’s keeping her cards close to her chest in terms of strategy building towards the tournament. She said there is only one spot available for qualifying and that spot belongs to South Africa. “It’s all or nothing, there are no second chances. We have but one chance, one opportunity, come hell or high water, we going to do our absolute best to qualify for Tokyo.” 

She said in the past 18 months, her role has been to not only prove the sceptics wrong, or those who question a decision WBSA made in appointing her as the Head Coach of the SASOL SA men’s team, but to follow in the steps of past and great Paralympian predecessors . 

The 1st ranked Moroccan outfit will be crowd’s favourite to dominate the tournament in the men’s pool. As former African number one contenders, The South African team who is now ranked 3rd behind Algeria, has a point to prove.  

In the women’s category, South African Sasol AmawheelaGirls team, is the strongest contender among three countries to compete in the tournament. They are ranked 2nd behind Algeria.  The South African’s AmawheelaGirls coach, James Mthethwa, aided by his assistant Nthombi Mthombela, said that his team is no stranger to the pressure of the qualifiers.  He said they are in it to win it. Algeria just beat us in the African World Qualifiers and it’s still a burning point of desire to take gold away from them.

In preparing for the qualifiers, the two South African teams took part in the Belgium Easter Tournament, Thailand Tri Nations, Women U25 World Championships, the FAZZA Dubai Cup and the Angolan Lwini Cup.

For interviews contact: WBSA CEO, Charles Saunders on 082 474 9058, or High-Performance Director Gerhard Smith on 0717625029, Men’s Head Coach Lydia Dumond on 073 161 6408, or Women’s Head Coach James Mthetwe on 073 899 3286.

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