NATIONAL NEWS - Bungling by a national sports body is preventing local teenage swimming sensation Minke Janse van Rensburg from competing in any international event. No athlete in South Africa who is intellectually impaired or has Down syndrome can currently compete at international level.
The South African Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired (Sasa-II) has no funds available for teams to compete in other countries. Their executive committee is not in favour of self-funding by the athletes, and on top of this, Sasa-II has been suspended since last year September from the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (Inas)*.
Due to the suspension, World and Africa record holders with Down syndrome couldn't participate in the Global Games - a quadrennial global, international multi-sport event organised by Inas - in Brisbane, Australia, in October. With the current lack of funds they will also miss out on the Trisome Games in Turkey, in March next year.
This event is not linked to Inas and is exclusively for athletes with Down syndrome. It takes place every four years and is a multi-sport event.
International trips under the Sasa-II banner are usually funded by the national lottery. According to Ina Fowler, the national swimming convener of Sasa-II, there were issues around their first application and it had to be resubmitted.
"One of the events that we have applied for has already taken place. As far as I know, the new submission was done and we are waiting for feedback from the lottery," she says.
On home ground this dilemma severely affects 15-year-old Minke, a world champion swimmer with Down syndrome. Minke won't be able to participate in any of the international events of which she is the current record holder.
She holds 15 junior Africa records, four open Africa records, four open relay Africa records, five junior world records and two open world records.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'