Team SA ready to shine at Rio Paralympics

The country will once again stand together back home to watch and support as the next set of sporting legends take the stage at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this month. Forming part of the 45-strong South African Paralympic Team, are six para-cycling competitors, who have been settling in and getting fired up for the events ahead.

The cycling disciplines kick off with the Track events, which will see Roxy Burns (C3) and Dane Wilson (C5) taking part from 8-11 September. The Road events follow soon afterwards, from 14-17 September.

Stellenbosch-based Burns is the first of the team to compete in her particular events: The 3000m Pursuit and the 500m Time Trial. Burns’ career highlights include a Silver medal at the 2009 Track World Championships, being a finalist for SA’s Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability in 2014, and being selected to compete in the Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016) Paralympics. She was also the first South African to claim a UCI World Cup Series Winner’s title on the Road in 2013. Her positive outlook on life continuously gives her the ability to face each challenge with a level head and strong heart.

Dane Wilson says that for him, his career highlight is most certainly going to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. He has excelled in both track and road cycling disciplines, claiming first place in this year’s Road Race at the 2016 National Road, Time-Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Wartburg. Family man Wilson will take on the Men’s 4000m Pursuit as well as the 1000m (or Kilo) Time Trial at the Rio Paralympic Games this year.

Both Burns and Wilson will be battling it out on the Track, as well as the Road events later this month.

The Road cyclists will then begin with their respective races, with first off, Multiple Paralympian, Ernst van Dyk. Van Dyk has had the opportunity to represent his country at the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2016 Paralympics and won medals for Handcyling and Wheelchair racing. The ten-time Boston Marathon winner takes to the tarmac for the Men’s H5 Time Trial on Wednesday 14 September, and the Men’s H5 Road Race on Thursday 15 September.

Next to compete in the Handcycling discipline, is Double World Para-cycling Champion, Justine Asher. The mother of two from Cape Town applies her “yes I can” slogan to everything she does in life, and looks forward to a happy and successful time in Rio. Asher will be taking part in the both the Women’s H2 Time Trial and Road Race on the 14 and 16 September respectively.

South Africa’s Tricycling representative, Goldy Fuchs, has long awaited the opportunity to represent his country in Rio, and the time has finally arrived. Fuchs achieved his goal this year by claiming the number one position in the UCI T2 World Rankings in the Para-cycling Road discipline. He also won double gold at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg earlier this year. Fuchs will take part in the Men’s T2 Time Trial and Road Race on 14 and 16 September respectively.

Craig Ridgard will be representing his country in the Men’s C2 Time Trial and Road Race on 14 and 16 September respectively. Ridgard, who resides in Cape Town, has achieved multiple World Cup podium finishes, from Bronze through to Gold, and views his Rio 2016 selection to be one of the greatest moments in his career.

Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Discipline Director, Dr Mike Burns, said: “We have had a Rio 2016 strategy in place since immediately after the London Paralympic Games, which has been operationalised systematically over the past 4 years. Underpinning the strategy is the discipline’s High Performance Plan, which has significantly aided in developing the international competitiveness of each of the riders now competing in Rio.

"To date, 2016 has seen a set of unparalleled international competition results produced by our riders, and I am confident that this will push through into the Rio results too. I know that each of the riders has given it their absolute all in terms of training and preparing for this ultimate event. For certain, rewards for this will materialise. Cycling South Africa is 100% behind Team SA”.   

To keep up to date with schedules for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Para-cycling Track events, click here: https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/cycling-track 

To keep up to date with schedules for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Para-cycling Road events, click here: https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/cycling-road