Para-athletes flock to George for Outeniqua Chair Challenge

In February the 20th edition of the Outeniqua Chair Challenge (OCC) takes place in George, with wheelchair-bound athletes from across Africa – including Namibia – set to participate.
“The two categories in our competitive section are open to quadriplegic and paraplegic athletes, and then subcategories cater for competitors depending on the type of chair used,” explains organiser Alewijn Dippenaar. These include, among others, racing chairs, hand cycles, and basketball chairs.
So it’s no wonder that parts of George come to a vital standstill for several hours on OCC Day each February, with an extensive course blocked off for racing snakes on the 42.2 km route, part of which is used for the 21.1 km and 10 km races.
“There is also a fun 5 km course for competitors in wheelchairs pushed by an array of awesome helpers,” Dippenaar said.
The OCC 2024 takes place at Carpe Diem School on Saturday 24 February, but the premises will be buzzing with activity from the 23rd between 11:00 and 18:00, when participants arrive in droves to confirm their registration.
“At 18:00 on Friday we host the official opening ceremony for participants, and by Saturday morning the first riders start off at 07:00 – nice and early on that late summer’s morning,” Dippenaar said. Once all competitive and fun races have been completed, an award ceremony concludes procedures at lunchtime on Saturday – and everyone is invited.
Something for everyone
“Members of the public are very welcome to join us on the Friday night and Saturday morning, at no cost,” he added, reminding that there are food stalls on hand for spectators, and many different ways to get involved.
“As per previous years there is a special category for businesses, each of which gets its own ‘kaskar’ that is powered by members of their team.”
George enterprises and offices that have participated in this event before, taking place just before the start of the 5 km fun race, will know that this ‘business boxcar’ category delivers on marketing mileage and much hilarity at the same time.
So if you would like to rub shoulders with the likes of racing legend Pieter du Preez – who won gold in the 2020 Paralympics in Japan, and is the first quadriplegic in the world to complete a full Ironman – get in touch with Dippenaar at [email protected].
Sponsors of this year’s OCC are again headlined by George Municipality as premier partner, and joined by Lancewood, Safari, the Premier’s Office, Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport, Eden Sports Council and Algoa FM.