Para-cycling team for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games announced

Cycling South Africa congratulates athletes and officials who have been announced by SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) as part of their South African Paralympic Team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in September.

The full cycling team, which was announced by SASCOC on 19 July, was named as part of the 45-strong Paralympic team representing 10 sporting codes.

ROAD CYCLING TEAM

Handcycling
Ernst van Dyk (H5 class)
Justine Asher (H2 Class)

Tricycling
Goldy Fuchs (T2)

Bicycling
Craig Ridgard (C2)

TRACK CYCLING TEAM

Roxanne Burns (C3)
Dane Wilson (C5)

JC van der Walt – Team Manager
Elrick Kulsen – Team Head Coach
Pieter Jansen – Team Mechanic
Shaun Asher – Assistant to Justine Asher

The riders qualified in terms of the national Paralympic team selection criteria, approved by SASCOC, filling the four male and two female slots allocated to South Africa by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Cycling South Africa is extremely proud of the riders selected for the team and acknowledges their athletic talent and hard work that has got them to this pinnacle of international competition. The achievements of many other riders who have represented South Africa in the various UCI Road and Track competitions during the current Paralympic quadrennial is also gratefully acknowledged; these achievements contributed in no small measure to the tally of nation points earned by South Africa and, on the basis of which, the six slots for the Rio Paralympics were allocated by the IPC.

Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns, said: “Immediately following the conclusion of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Discipline has had a Rio 2016 strategy in place, aimed at achieving multiple objectives. One of these was to identify and develop the international competitiveness of new Paralympian candidates, in particular female riders. Illustrative in this regard are the achievements and Rio team selection of current double UCI World Champion (time trial, road race), Justine Asher. Her male counterparts, who will be competing in their first Paralympic Games, include Craig Ridgard, Dane Wilson and Goldy Fuchs.

“A second objective was to have representation of qualifying track cyclists in the Paralympic team, which has been achieved. In a situation where there are very few UCI international track events, the qualification of Dane Wilson and Roxy Burns for selection to the national Paralympic team is to be celebrated. Arguably the most important objective, still to be obtained, is to have the team return from Rio with multiple medal achievements – to improve on the single medal returned from London 2012.”

Whilst the rider-coach relationships and individual efforts fundamentally explain the international competitiveness of the riders selected to the South African Paralympic team, the discipline’s High Performance Plan has also contributed significantly. On the plan’s upstream side, employing an effective technology platform, the capacity of the discipline’s High Performance Manager to track each rider’s weekly training efforts through base, tapering and peaking phases of various competition cycles has proved invaluable. Similarly, on the downstream side, the plan’s technology platform that is used to capture and analyse rider race results has provided a tool that is capable of quantitatively (objectively) measuring performance trends over time.

The track events are scheduled for the first week of the Rio Paralympic programme, followed by the road events during the second week. Multiple Paralympian, Ernst van Dyk, will be an invaluable mentor to his road teammates, whilst Roxy Burns, who will be competing in her third Paralympic Games, will provide similar re-assurance to her track teammate, Dane Wilson.

ENDS