Cameras clicked away as a throng of people gathered at OR Tambo international Airport to wish South Africas Paralympic team good luck. Picture: Antoine de Ras

Cameras clicked away as a throng of people gathered at OR Tambo international Airport to wish South Africa’s Paralympic team good luck.

They pushed and shoved for an opportunity to snap selfies with athletes as they departed for Rio de Janeiro to participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Schoolchildren in uniform were also among the well wishers. Families and relatives of the athletes hugged and kissed their loved ones good-bye.

Sandra Khumalo, a para rower, was accompanied by her daughters Chelsea, 16, and Seona, 5, during media interviews. “She is going to do well. She is absolutely fantastic,” said Chelsea, speaking in front of television cameras.

They hugged her as their father took pictures of them. Khumalo said she was confident that her hard work would pay off. “I have to bring my A-game. To be nominated in the team is a big achievement on its own. I just want to give my best, the rest will follow. Hopefully a medal will come.”

Both her daughters will join her later in Rio.”I have more courage to push myself when I see them around, they motivate me a lot.”

Kgothatso Montjane, a wheelchair tennis player, was upbeat about the team’s prospects. “The fact that we have qualified means we have the potential to win gold. Every one of us is capable.

“We have trained so hard, it’s never easy to qualify. We are not going to Rio to be second best.”

Wheelchair racer and hand cyclist Ernst van Dyk said he was thrilled to represent his country. - The Star

KGOPI MABOTJA

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