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December 10, 2004

Parkin leads SA team

From: Independent Online, South Africa - Dec 10, 2004

Johannesburg - Sydney 2000 Olympic swimming silver medalist Terence Parkin will head a list of leading deaf sports stars striving for glory, when Team SA embarks on its mission of early 2005 sporting success, when the Deaflympics take place in Melbourne, Australia from January 5-16.

Team SA brought home 13 medals (8 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze) finishing seventh overall at the 2001 Deaflympics held in Rome, Italy, and with the class of Parkin again heading up their ranks for Melbourne, the swimming arena could yet again produce several medals to enhance the Team SA charge up the medal table.

KZN-based Parkin, will be looking for waves of success for his country when he dives into the water in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle races, as well as the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 200m butterfly and 200m and 400m individual medley events, as well as the relay races.

World backstroke record-holder Gregory Lessing will fancy his chances of making a trip or more to the medal podium, when he participates in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly events.

His brother, Gauteng's Nicholas Lessing will look to add further weight to Team SA's return luggage, when he strives to win medals in the 400m and 1500m freestyle, 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, and 100m and 200m individual medley events.

On the athletics scene, Team SA medal hoes will be pinned on the firm shoulders of Western Cape's Karoo Nodada in the 800m and 1500m races, while Gauteng marathon man Isaac Mahlake will be hoping that the weather conditions will assist his race plan over the 42,2km road course.

Team SA Chef de Mission Tony Heyns, who is President of the South African Deaf Sports Federation, said that the 34-member Team SA will be represented in athletics, badminton, swimming and tennis at the Deaflympics.

"Team SA has shown a steady increase in medal success and personal best performances, since its debut at the 1993 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria, and I am confident that the athletes will do their country and themselves proud in Melbourne next month," Heyns.

"SA topped the list of swimming medals at previous Deaflympics, and the countries most likely to challenge for honours in the aquatics competition include Germany and the USA. The American and the Ukranians should be well in the hunt for glory in athletics, while India are most likely to be a major force in the badminton competition, with Italy and Germany strong medal contenders on the tennis court."

Heyns thanked the National Lottery Board for their financial support which has made the trip possible, and expressed his gratitude to Disability Sport SA (Dissa) and his team of administrators for support rendered on the preparation side of the trip Down Under.

Peter Goldhawk said that the SA Paralympic team had done SA proud at the Paralympic Games held in Athens, Greece earlier this year, and called on the Team SA Deaflympic line up to hold their heads high and take to the sporting battlefields in the knowledge that SA's sports-loving people will be waiting patiently on their results.

"The Team SA Deaflympic unit has the perfect opportunity of setting the mood for what should be an excellent year for SA sport, and on behalf of Dissa, I wish them the best of luck for their campaign," said Goldhawk. - Sapa

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