Air Products’ Cape Town facility has built a strong relationship with the Athlone School for the Blind in the past. This year they exceeded all expectations when they were approached by the principal to provide financial assistance to the Western Province athletes from the school in order for them to attend the 2016 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired in Bloemfontein in March 2016.
What made the participation of the athletes at the 2016 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired even more important was the fact that this event was a qualifying event to be selected for the 2016 Rio Paralympic games.
The learners promised to do their best on and off the field, and they kept true to their promise. In total, the learners from the Athlone School for the Blind brought home 40 medals in total: 36 gold, three silver and one bronze.
Principal at the Athlone School for the Blind, Fletcher Fisher, says: “Competing at the highest level is a costly exercise and it often happens that children lose their passion when they encounter the harsh reality of the funding required. Air Products’ contribution covered all the expenses of the athletes and as a result, they all had the opportunity to participate at the championships. We are extremely proud of each and every learner who participated.”
According to Sugene Vickernand, Regional Sales Manager at Air Products, the sponsorship is important as it enabled talented students to complete at a national level. Vickernand comments: “We are honored to be a part of these learners’ success at the championships. They trained tirelessly before the event to get closer to their ultimate goals. Empowering of the youth forms an important part of Air Products’ corporate strategy.”
The athletes excelled at the National Championships and as a result, Nikita Jansen, Monique Hendricks, Avril Wessels, Sibongiseni Ntuthu, Regan Wilson and Mogamat Petersen were included in the Provisional SASAPD VI team who will be participating at the under 20 Youth Games in Luanda, Angola in December.