by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP – Constituency Head for George: The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape applauds George Municipality for sponsoring and hosting another successful Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge (OCC).
The OCC is the first and only wheelchair racing event, in the country, that caters exclusively for persons with disabilities. The event is endorsed by organisations such as the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled and the South African Sports Confederation.
Last weekend, George Municipality successfully hosted the event for the seventeenth time. The event which first began in 2002 with a mere 27 participants, today attracts over 1000 national and international participants, making it one of the leading sporting events for persons with disabilities.
This year’s OCC took place on Saturday 14 September 2019 and was marked by a series of races, namely the 42,2 km full marathon; 21,1km, half marathon; 10km race and 5km fun event. Participants of the event took part, in these races, in racing wheelchairs, hand cycles, basketball chairs and ordinary wheelchairs.
Despite South Africa reportedly being home to approximately 3 million persons with disabilities, the sad but stark reality is that persons with disabilities continue to be marginalised and excluded from participating meaningfully in some of the activities in our society including sporting activities.
It is therefore reassuring and inspiring that a DA led municipality such as George has taken the lead in ensuring that persons with disabilities are able to meaningfully participate in professionally organised sporting events of an international standard like the OCC.
The DA also applauds the organisers of the OCC for, yet again, organising and coordinating this very unique and important event and more importantly, commends each man, woman and child who took part in and contributed towards this year’s OCC.
The DA is further confident that because the event provides persons with disabilities exclusive access to and inclusion in a professional sporting event, it is well on its way to becoming one of the best events of its kind on the continent and the world over.
CAPTION: Race director Alewijn Dippenaar hands an OCC T-shirt to executive mayor Ald Melvin Naik. Photo: Desmond Scholtz