Let’s focus on ability, not disability…


They may have completed this year’s edition of the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge, in George, without collecting any major silverware but the journey’s far from over for Taswell Williams and fellow members of the Beaconvale-based Reabled Organisation.

The club, which focuses on social integration, was represented by 20 members who competed in different categories, including the 10km race and the 7km fun run.

Now in its 14th year, the event saw more than a 1 000 disabled athletes from around the country and beyond our borders engaged in two days of fun and competitive activities

Reabled’s top performer was Thulani Simani has finished in the the top two for the past five years.

Williams decribed him as an example of someone who always delivers his best irrespective of the odds.

“He’s one of the most dedicated and consistent athletes we have around. He always strives to be the best,” said Williams.

He said taking part in this competition, and many others, was important to them not only from a sporting perspective but also from a social side. This, he said was because it was important for disabled people, not just athletes, to show that they have the ability to do what any “able-bodied” person can do.

“Hence we call ourself reabled because we focus on our abilities rather than our disabilities,” he said.

He said it was with this, and other human rights issues, in mind that the organisation was formed, by a group of activists, more than 10 years ago. The idea was to create a platform to motivate people with disability and encourage them to be involved in different activities, including, Williams said.

He said they have more than 100 members across the province and aim to take part in a number of events leading up to Heritage Day, Saturday September 24.

“Although we are about social rights of disabled people, we do take sport seriously because it is, in our view, important to introduce or keep them within that environment so that they can realise their sporting potential,” he said.

* For more information about Reabled, call 073 479 2753.