Madibaz director of sport Yoliswa Lumka will fulfil the role of chef de mission when the South African wheelchair basketball national teams take on their African counterparts for a spot at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Team SA will be competing in the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Paralympic Qualifiers in Algeria from 26 October to 9 November.
Lumka said a good performance at the qualifiers was crucial if the team wanted to compete in next year’s Paralympics in Rio.
“This is not a case of simply going there to have fun,” she said.
“We are under a lot of pressure to do well and we have to go there to win if we want to progress to the Paralympics. Only one team of each gender goes through, so we have to win.”
Lumka, whose involvement with wheelchair basketball started in 2007 as national team manager, will ensure that all arrangements for the men’s and women’s squad to Algeria run smoothly.
“I was initially roped into helping with wheelchair basketball due to my sports administration background. But now it has become my way of giving back to our athletes with disabilities, helping them to achieve more,” said the 36-year-old.
“I have been team manager for some time, but this is my first time in the role of chef de mission, and I aim to help all the athletes to the best of my abilities.”
The teams, with their management and coaching staff, will leave for Staoueli in the Algiers province later this month.
From a Madibaz point of view Lumka is looking forward to the opportunity to network and improve her skills as a sports administrator.
“This is an ideal opportunity for me to develop my skills, especially on the competitive international sport environment.
“This will also be a great opportunity to introduce the other countries to our newly launched high performance complex. And just being at the event itself will give some insight into how other federations run their operations.”