South Africa paves the way for Wheelchair Fencing development in Africa
Klein Karoo Sports Club for the Disabled now have eight fencers with aspirations to represent South Africa on an international platform.
The development of wheelchair fencing across Africa is an objective of IWAS and the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee in its aims to further expand its worldwide reach. Klein Karoo Sports Club for the Disabled has made waves in this objective in the development of African wheelchair fencing 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 opportunities outside of more developed sports in the region. Following a demonstration from Susan Agrella of a local able fencing club in early October, athletes were keen to try their hand at the sport.
Following the official introduction of the sport only one week ago, the club now has eight wheelchair fencing athletes at the club aspiring for fencing success. The first competition for the fencers will be in February 2016 in Cape Town with the eventual aim to represent South Africa on an international level at 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.’
The club is also looking to open up 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 looks forward to the promising potential of wheelchair fencers from Africa as development and promotion continues across the continent.