The 2023 Toyota South Africa Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships, was a momentous occasion that took place from Friday, 17 to Wednesday, 22 March 2023, that saw numerous sporting records being shattered.

With over 650 participants, a total of 90 SA records; 20 Open records, five Africa records and two World records were set at the Greenpoint Athletics Stadium at this year’s games. Gauteng won the Athletics floating trophy for both senior and junior athletes and scooped the overall winning province floating trophy followed by hosts Western Cape and the Free State in third position.

This year, the championships were hosted by the City of Cape Town for the first time since 2019. The games are an excellent platform for nurturing promising and ambitious athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairment. This sporting phenomenon which qualifies as a World Para-athletics-sanctioned event, offering qualification opportunities and world ranking points for many international events – is organised by the SASAPD, the leading sports federation for people living with physical disabilities in South Africa.

SASAPD promotes sports for athletes with disabilities and visual impairments from grass-roots to Paralympic level. It caters for various disability groups, including spinal cord injuries, amputees, cerebral palsied, visually impaired and blind, and Les Autres (a category for Paralympic competitors whose disability does not fit into the other categories).

Successful 2023 Championships

This year’s championships were again themed “Start Your Impossible.” The games attracted entries in track and field athletics, boccia, goalball, swimming, CP football, powerlifting, para-cycling and judo. Athletes from eight African countries were sanctioned by the World Paralympics Association to compete at the SASAPD Championships, thereby gaining valuable world ranking points and qualifying for upcoming international games.

President of the SASAPD, Moekie Grobbelaar, comments that the highlight of the 2023 event, beyond individual and team athletic performance, was the celebration of their 61st anniversary: “We are delighted that, after six decades, our athletes are still able to achieve their dreams, and set their targets for qualification in the 2024 Paralympics, to be hosted by Paris.”

Birthplace of Dreams

Toyota South Africa Motors is a long-standing sponsor of the SASAPD. According to the car manufacturer: “TSAM entered this partnership to promote the sporting codes offered at Paralympic level for athletes with disabilities. The sponsorship is also about promoting mobility: “Over 85 years of innovation have brought us our greatest mission yet: giving the freedom of movement to humankind. That's why Toyota is the Worldwide Official Mobility Partner of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, and also sponsors the SASAPD National Championships”.

Start your Impossible

Toyota’s “Start Your Impossible” was the brand’s first global campaign, conceptualised in 2018 to reflect the Olympic and Paralympic spirit of encouragement, challenge and progress. Created in honour of Toyota’s shift to a mobility company and to honour its long global partnership with the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, it is an impassioned call to action which is designed to create a more inclusive and sustainable society in which every individual is encouraged to reach for and achieve his or her personal best.