South Africa paves the way for wheelchair fencing in Africa31.10.2015
A local sports club held a wheelchair fencing demonstration, and in return, has generated interest in the sport.
Klein Karoo Sports Club for the Disabled has made waves in the development of wheelchair fencing in Africa, as they introduce the sport to their 40 athletes in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.
Klein Karoo, already offering athletics, table tennis and wheelchair basketball, were keen to develop an inclusive sport suitable for people with a variety of impairments and found wheelchair fencing could open up those opportunities. Following a demonstration from Susan Agrella of a local able-bodied fencing club in early October, athletes tried the sport out.
Following the official introduction only one week ago, the club now has eight wheelchair fencing athletes aspiring for fencing success. The first competition for the fencers will be in February 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa, with the eventual aim to represent their country on an international level at International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation [IWAS] World Championships and the Paralympic Games.
Susan of Klein Karro is confident of the future of South Africa in international competition in years to come.
“Our team has the ability to reach the top and be the best there is,” Karro said.
The club is also looking for opportunities to train coaches and officials to strengthen the infrastructure of the sport within South Africa. The goal of the club with the support of IWAS and the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee is to expand the reach of the sport across other areas of South Africa and to countries across the continent.
Libya was previously the only African country with active wheelchair fencers, which makes the development of the Klein Karoo sports club the first of its kind in the countries of Southern Africa.
IWAS said they look forward to the promising potential of wheelchair fencers from Africa as development and promotion continues across the continent.