Tezna Abrahams says she won’t hold back at this year’s Nedbank National Championship for Physically Disabled, presented by the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD), as she attempts to qualify for next year’s Paralympics.
ÔÇ£I have one goal and that is to make the South African team for the 2012 Paralympics in London. I won’t be left behind again,ÔÇØ said Abrahams.
Joining a group of South Africa’s top Paralympic athletes, the 15-year-old North West swimmer will be among 800 disabled and visually impaired athletes who will strive for glory in eight sporting codes at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg as well as the Hillcrest Swimming Pool in Pretoria from 26-30 March.
At last year’s championships in Port Elizabeth, Abrahams made headlines when she won eight gold medals and set two South African records. She also won five gold medals and set five SA records at the Telkom SA Regional Championships in Germiston and won two silver and a bronze and set a SA record in her age group in the 50m backstroke at the SA National Youth & Senior Aquatic Championships in Durban.
But she fell just short of securing a spot on the South African team for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. ÔÇ£It only inspired me to work harder,ÔÇØ said Abrahams. ÔÇ£My long term goal is to take over the mantle from Natalie du Toit one day. She has done such an incredible job of flying our country’s flag around the world. I’d like to carry on in her footsteps and help ensure the future of disabled swimming in South Africa.ÔÇØ
Abrahams was born with a congenital abnormality to her hands and feet. But it has never slowed her down. ÔÇ£Tezna was still a toddler when she began swimming,ÔÇØ said mother Jessica, also the swimming convenor for the North West Province. ÔÇ£She also excelled at soccer and was even named ‘Best Striker’ at her school in 2009, but it was in the water that she found her true calling.
ÔÇ£She has a highly competitive and self-motivated spirit. She doesn’t need anyone to push her to greater heights and she doesn’t know how to quit.ÔÇØ
Abrahams will need that drive when she pushes for gold at the upcoming Championships in no less than eight events. She will compete in the 50m and 100m breast stroke (SB 9), as well as the 50m, 100m and 200m free style, 50m butterfly and 50m back stroke (SM10).
ÔÇ£For my eighth event I still have to decide between the 100m back stroke or butterfly,ÔÇØ she said. “I know it’s a lot of events, but I’ve done it before and I have to give myself every chance of making the 2012 Paralympic team.ÔÇØ
Abrahams has been warming up for the championships with school competitions since January. ÔÇ£I’ve achieved good times. I feel ready for the championships and I’m going to go for it.ÔÇØ