Here are Top Five South African Paralympic stars to Watch in Rio

Achmat Hassiem

Achmat Hassiem

South Africa has sent a team of 45 athletes to Rio across ten codes. Here we take a peek at a few of the stars doing the business in Brazil.

With the Paralympic Games in full swing in Brazil, South Africa has sent a team of 45 athletes across ten codes. Here we take a peek at a few of the stars doing the business in Rio.

Achmat Hassiem

Entering his third Games after losing a leg to a great white shark off the Cape Town coast. Hassiem swam to a bronze medal in London four years ago in the S10 division of the 100m butterfly event. Despite his horrific injury, the 34-year-old has gone on to work in shark conservation, of all things. Oh, and you’ll never guess his nickname… come on Sharkboy!

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Hilton Langenhoven

The multi-talented track and field star came home from the Beijing Games in 2008 with three gold medals in the 200m, long jump and pentathlon. He was the first South African to achieve such a medal haul at the Paralympics – and he followed it up with silver in the 400m in 2012. Competing in the visually impaired categories, expect to catch him in the 200m, 400m and his favoured long jump this time around.

Lucas Sithole

The 29-year-old wheelchair tennis star is aiming to better his last 16 spot from London 2012, after a strong year that began with him winning the Australian Open doubles title, with Canadian partner David Wagner. Sithole, from Kwa-Zulu Natal, also has the 2013 US Open singles title in his memory banks as he goes for gold in Brazil.

Kgothatso Montjane

Staying on the tennis court, the world number nine goes into her third Paralympics hoping to erase the memories of her injury-plagued tilt at London 2012 glory. Older, wiser and fitter – the 30-year-old from Limpopo will try to rediscover the form that saw her hit a career-high fifth in the world rankings, as well as being named South Africa’s disabled sportswoman of the year in 2011.

Ernst van Dyk

A barely believable nine-time winner of the Boston Marathon, Van Dyk is a titan of long-distance wheelchair racing. The Western Cape veteran followed up his Beijing 2008 road race gold medal with a silver in London four years ago. He’s been on the go since the Barcelona Games all the way back in 1992, where he dabbled with swimming before finding his true calling on the road.


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