The South African Special Olympics team has returned to South Africa from Abu Dhabi where they participated in the Special Olympics World games. And they didn’t come home empty handed.

Team South Africa won 59 medals in total  4 gold medals, 12 silver and 12 bronze.

It was a job well done by Team South Africa. And hundreds of well wishers gathered at OR Tambo International to welcome them home  unfortunately no-one from government.

The Chairman of Special Olympics South Africa, Mathews Phosa, was there to welcome home his athletes and he was a very proud man.

“Special Olympic athletes are the best athletes in the country, they performed on the world stage and bring more gold medals more silver medals and more bronze medals than any other team in any other sport in the country we should be proud of this national team of intellectually disabled people they are so able to make us proud to make us happy as a nation to give us good news when there is darkness.”

Phosa said these athletes and their achievements should be celebrated.

“These are people, members of the community of our families our brothers and sisters our children who are born with intellectual disability you find them in many homes in this country and all over the world and in South Africa there are three million of them who we still have to reach, we have reached 50 thousand young people with intellectual disability. We must own up and include them in the liberation we are facing.”

Family members and teachers were over the moon.

“We have come together as teaching and non-teaching staff and members of community where Kgopolang comes from in a village in Mpumalanga.”

“Simphiwe and Japan, we live with them in the same home, we are proud of them because they managed to go this far.”

Thandiwe Pringle, from Matshediso Lsen School in Tsakane, promised to bring back a medal when the team left for Abu Dhabi. And true to her word, she won a Gold medal in golf.

“I’ve been longing to see them; I was away from them for almost two week, that’s long. I want to bond with them and celebrate my victory,” says  a gold medalist, Thandiwe Pringle.

Tears of joy were shared by teachers, coaches, as well as family members.