18th February 2012 to 18th February 2012

Super-athletes poised to compete in10th wheelchair race

Pedigreed athletes from all over the planet will jostle for top honours in South Africa’s only major wheelchair race - the 10th OCC wheelchair challenge in George on 18 February 2012.

Entrants from seven countries, including Austria, Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe, South Africa and as far a field as Ghana and Nigeria, will travel to the heart of the Garden Route to compete next month.

Locally, competitors from every corner of South Africa will be participating in the popular event for athletes with physical disability.

Race director Esther Watson is thrilled with the wide geographic spread of participating countries, as well as the calibre and quantity of athletes. ‘We have a very prestigious line-up this year, and anticipate fierce competition for the first 10 places in the 42.2km Hand Cycle category, as well as many races-within-a-race for the rest of the field.’

Some of the top names include Scotland’s Kenny Herriot, currently the world’s best Endurance Hand Cycle athlete, who completed a 900 mile ride from San Francisco to New York in 2009 to raise awareness of childhood cancer, notching up around 90 miles every day for 10 days.

Irish Mark Rohan, winner of the UCI World Cup in 2011, is the current world champion in his class - H3 (which is equivalent to Quadriplegic).

Also competing for top honours is Austrian Manfred Putz, a previous World Champion in the H2 class.

Says Watson, ‘Of course, South Africa will be proudly supporting our own champs, including Ernst van Dyk, who is the nine times Boston Marathon winner and ex-World Champ and gold medallist in the 2008 Paralympic Games marathon. Van Dyk is the Ambassador for the International Paralympic Committee.’

‘Combine all these - and some new ‘unknowns’ - with last year’s winner Stuart Macready, who will be defending his title, and I believe we will have a “Titanic” race!’

‘With the cream of the crop of athletes with physical disability competing in our race, it gives great credibility to the event, and promises to provide superb entertainment for all sports enthusiasts – both participants and spectators alike.

‘Backed by our presenting sponsors the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA)’s George Airport, the 10thOuteniqua Wheelchair Challenge is sure to be a fun-filled event.’

Celebrity actor and comedian Alfred Ntombela has endorsed the event, and is calling for all persons with disabilities who have not yet entered, to sign up for one of the 44 categories before the end of January.

Host city George has pledged to make the event a success once again. To ensure smooth traffic flow on the day, York Road will be closed, and Courtenay Streetpartially closed, for the duration of the race. The route will be the same as in previous years and controlled by the Traffic Department of George Municipality.

To enter the OCC Wheelchair Challenge on-line, please visit www.georgeocc.co.za, or call event director Esther Watson on 082 421 9359.  The closing date for entries is 31 January 2012.

ENDS (490words)                                                                                       


Captions: [picture taken by Desmond Scholtz]

Luigi the cheetah is the ambassador for the Cango Wildlife Ranch on the Garden Route. Here, he shares some racing tips with children from the Klein Karoo School who have entered the OCC’s 10th wheelchair challenge next month. They are, from left to right, Menzi Maseko (14), Eltony Witbooi (14), Jenaymare Mei (14) and Tamra Bezuidenhout (9).


Issued on behalf of OCC by Sharon Fay Public Relations

Media queries:

Sharon Fay

Email: sharon@sharonfaypr.co.za

Or tel: 082 8230539


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