For the third time the City of Roses hosted the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired (SASAPD) which saw more than 800 athletes from nine provinces descending for this annual event.Executive sports convener Ernesta Strydom told Dumelang News that the tournament was huge despite less support from the spectators and the sponsors.
“We lost the main sponsor which supported us for so many years, they throw us out of the window and this year, for this event we had to get alternative sponsors to keep us going,” said Strydom.She said they had a very successful week with athletes, team managers and few supporters who came to support their children.“There were stumbling blocks but we managed to overcome them, there were challenges because we don't have funds to do all what we were supposed to, but we soldiered on and the outcomes brought smiles on the faces of our athletes
. We were here for the benefit of athletes because some of them came from the less privileged communities, normally they don't get out of their hometowns and this is the only opportunity we created for them to see that they are not the only ones disabled in their respective areas,” said Strydom.
She explained that sponsors who were on board didn't give money but fundamental services for the tournament to go ahead. Strydom said as the local organising committee they ensured that athletes created lots of friends.She admitted that they receive grant from the department of sports and recreation but it was not enough to run the whole organisation due to sporting codes they are hosting.
Winners of this four day tournament took home medals after hard work especially on Good Friday when the rain nearly disturbed. She also explained that SASAPD has applied for sponsor from National Lottery and other sponsors hoping that they will be able to support to take the tournament forward. She applauded athletes for sterling performances.
“Despite some of our athletes not participating due to Commonwealth Games, records were broken and this is a build up towards national championships which will be held next year in Cape Town. Those games will serve as qualifier towards World Championships,” said Strydom.