Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) and the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) are pleased to announce they have signed a three-year partnership to promote the sporting codes offered at Paralympic level for athletes with disabilities. The partnership was announced at the second instalment of Toyota’s State of the Motor industry (SOMI) address in Kyalami on Tuesday.

SASAPD is considered to be a good platform for nurturing promising and ambitious athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairment. The organisation offers a springboard – through its affiliation with international bodies such as the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS), Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) and their annual National Championships for Physically Disabled – towards Paralympic Games qualification across a variety of sports.

The partnership, among other elements, will see Toyota donating a Quantum to a deserving SASAPD-affiliated school over the next three years. “Similarly, our involvement with SASAPD is so much more than just sponsorship of the games for the next three years. It’s about leaving a lasting legacy and assisting to uplift the status of SASPD. Our main objective is to help level the playing ground in athletics and promote SASAPD to the status it deserves,” says Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TSAM.

To maximise impact on SASAPD athletes, Toyota has also challenged some of its long-standing partners to pledge various means of support to the sporting body. Toyota Cheetahs – in conjunction with Living Brands – will provide free strapping serves and sport massages to SASAPD athletes at sporting events. Hello Computer – affiliated to Toyota’s advertising agency FCB – will be the social media partner of the SASAPD, thereby promoting the games on a larger scale.

“We are grateful to Toyota for the generous and beneficial partnership, and their support is not something we take lightly. This will filter down to everyone connected with SASAPD, offering some of the less fortunate athletes the opportunity to reach their dreams, and even create a platform for them to reach their full potential at the National Championships to be held in Stellenbosch in March,” says Moekie Grobbelaar, President of SASAPD.

“We strive to create equal sport opportunities for both Para-athletes – with the focus on more attendances and achievements from our SA Team in 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games – and aspiring Para-athletes with physical and visual impairments. We are also working towards establishing development pathways for our youth and athletes, as well as our coaches, managers and various officials,” adds Grobbelaar.

Toyota also named Paralympian silver medallist Ntando Mahlangu as its latest brand ambassador at SOMI. The terms of the three-year partnership include mobility services, academic support as well as medical care.

“We have always been behind our national sport – whether it is rugby, cycling, motorsport, football or athletics. It is also because the values of perseverance, leadership and endurance – which are synonymous with sport – are at the core of the Toyota brand and its history in South Africa,” adds Hamman.

In 2015, Toyota became the first worldwide mobility partner of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee with the aim of contributing to ‘creating a peaceful society without discrimination through sports’ and ‘a commitment to creating a sustainable society through mobility’.

Additionally, from 2017, Toyota launched its first global corporate initiative, "Start Your Impossible," whose goal is to bring people together and contribute to a society where all people can challenge what is possible.