Wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane (KG) and world record holding track athlete Charl du Toit have represented Team South Africa at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics tonight in Japan, as the country’s flag bearers. It’s a privilege they’ve embraced with excitement and pride.
Charl said, in an interview before the event, that being flag bearer exceeded his dreams. “In my wildest dreams, I never expected this,” he said, adding that it’s even greater knowing he’s the flag bearer of such a talented team that is filled with youth and skill.
KG echoed his sentiments and said she is “honoured” to be one of South Africa’s two flag bearers. She said, on the eve of the Paralympics, that Team SA will “have fun and do the best that we can, and represent the country with pride”.
South Africa (RSA) was the 141st country in the opening ceremony, after Malta and Malaysia. One of the foreign broadcasters said: “That is definitely a shirt I would swop for.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics opening ceremony is expected to be held from today Tuesday (24 Aug) with the closing ceremony on Sunday, September 5.
KG is fresh off a first-ever appearance for a black South African woman at a Wimbledon singles final and doubles final.
Charl is the current T37 100m and 400m Paralympic champion having won both at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. He also holds the world record in the 100m.
Team South Africa will be represented by a 34-member strong Paralympic team competing in at least seven sporting codes at the games.
Last week, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa wished the team well:
“South Africa’s Paralympics team has made us proud in their previous performances and we are confident even this time around that they will continue to fly our flag high. As a proud supporter of Team South Africa, we are looking forward to seeing our sportsmen and women not only go for glory but to inspire our future generations of Paralympians.”
Sources include: SAnews.gov.za and Team SA
— Team South Africa 💜 (@TeamSA2020) August 24, 2021
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 24, 2021