Alani Ferreira, one of our Youth team leaders was selected to represent South Africa at the Olympic games in Tokyo. Sadly, she did not win a medal but returned with new SA and African records to add to her vast collection of medals and records.
Tokyo 2021—By Alani Ferreira
I was very blessed and proud to be part of team SA at the Tokyo Paralympic Games this year. Swimming has always been a stress reliever for me, but it has also allowed to me to challenge myself and see what I could really do. Being at the athlete’s village at the Games is what I like to describe as the perfect world. It is a place where no disability is ever judged or seen as “weird”, and people are viewed as an individual doing their sport at the highest level and not as a disabled person.
Above this, Team SA is basically family to me. Spending three weeks with the swimming team has made us family and I am so privileged to have spent the time with them.
Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, the Games were a great success with athletes doing daily saliva tests and following standard precautions.
The atmosphere of the Games was still as high as years before even with the missing crowds. Incredible performances were seen throughout the sporting codes and it was incredible to be part of the movement, united by emotions.
Lastly, yes, the cardboard bed is the most comfortable bed I think I have ever slept in, and I was quite upset that I couldn’t fold it up and pack it into my suitcase. We were allowed to take our Paralympic duvets though.
Editors note: Alani is such an inspiration to us all. Intelligent, hardworking, motivated, successful and yet so friendly and humble. She is very busy completing her second degree but always find time to reach out and help RD youth in need of some guidance and mentoring.