2015 ‘IWAS Athletes with International Potential’ shine at 2016 Games.


Maria Tsakona of Greece and South Africa's Ntando Mahlangu proved in Prague why they deserved the 'IWAS Athlete with International Potential' award given to outstanding talent at the 2015 Games. 

In 2015, Greece’s Maria Tsakona and Ntando Mahlangu of South Africa were presented with the ‘IWAS Athlete with International Potential’ awards for their outstanding performances at the 2015 IWAS World Junior Games. With the IWAS focus on development of young athletes, the biannual award sponsors the chosen competitors, one ambulant and one wheelchair athlete, through financial contributions to attend the next IWAS Games.

At just 16 years old, Greek swimmer, Maria Tsakona showed once again at this year’s Games that she is a name to watch in the world of swimming. As she leaves Prague with 1 Gold in 50m Butterfly with a time of 50.86, 6 Silver and 2 Bronze medals, she now also holds a Panhellenic record. It was a pleasure to welcome Maria back to an IWAS Games sponsored on behalf the Ludwig Guttmann Paraplegic Sports Foundation (LGPSF) and IWAS anticipates great things in the future for the Greek swimmer. 

Fourteen-year-old Ntando Mahlangu of South Africa did not come quietly to the IWAS Under 23 World Games beating World Record times on both days of competition. Mahlangu’s success began with a win in the 200m (25.88s) followed by a spectacular T42 800m ran in 2:06.70 smashing the previous World Record time of 2:32.55 held by USA’s Kevin Messner. In the second day Ntando’s success did not slow down, and neither did he, taking another win and second new World Record time of 0:52.61 in the 400m, followed by gold in the 100m (13.13s).



“We are so proud of Ntando, he did excellently! Competing internationally remains the best way for young athletes to grow as it provides a valuable learning opportunity for both the competitor, and team, while competing at the highest level,” says Jumping Kids’ Johan Snyders.

The 2016 ‘IWAS Athlete with International Potential’ awards were presented to Spanish Wheelchair Fencer Tarek Nejjar who left Prague with four silver medals and Kuwait’s, Khalifa Alqasem who also excelled in the table tennis competition. These athletes showed exciting promise in their chosen sports and IWAS looks forward to welcoming them to a Games in the future.

The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport (IWAS) Under 23 World Games held in Prague, Czech Republic from 29 June to 3 July saw more than 500 people descend on two venues for three days of competition in wheelchair fencing, athletics, swimming and table tennis. 

All results from the IWAS Under 23 World Games 2016, can be found here.