Farrarmere’s Fisher eyes the Paralympics

Farrarmere’s Grant Fisher, born with Spina Bifida and paralysed from the knees down, will take part in the Para World Sailing Championships in Germany this week.

The 18-year-old from Farrarmere has been selected to represent South Africa at the Para World Sailing Championships from June 19 to June 25 in Kiel, Germany.

Relatively new to sailing – having only taken to a boat for the first time in 2015 – Fisher is aiming to learn as much as possible when he competes in the Hansa 303 class for athletes with a minimal disability.

Fisher was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from the knees down.

Introduced to the sport at Muriel Brand School in Brakpan, the teenager took to sailing straight away.

“I was approached by Carel Schoeman who asked me if I would be interested in doing sailing as a sport. He invited me to a sailing day for the disabled which was a stunning success. I also met Iuan Grey on this day who guided and assisted me with my sailing skills,” said Fisher.

He went on to say that he then competed in the All Cats Provincials in 2015 and came second.

“It was at this point I decided that I would like to continue until I reached top level. Sailing is a great sport, especially for someone like me. It gives me the ability to be free and mobile,” he added.

Fisher was both shocked and excited to hear that he has been chosen to compete in the World Championships as this will be a first for him. A total of 39 nations will be competing at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships across five categories.

“I would like to finish all races in a reasonable time. It would be great to achieve a good result as that will in turn give me the opportunity to participate in more events,” said Fisher.

Fisher conceded that he was nervous, but excited at the same time and explained that this was a great opportunity for him as he has never travelled overseas before. His ultimate goal is to represent South Africa at the Paralympics one day – something which will only be possible if and when World Sailing succeed in getting their sport reinstated at the Games after it was dropped from the programme for 2020.

“I would like to be an inspiration to others in my situation – to show people that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. When I am on the water I feel calm, relaxed and free because the water melts all my stress away,” said Fisher

SA Sailing Chairman Peter Hall wished Fisher well at his first World Championships.

“SA Sailing is very excited about the opportunity to develop Para sailing in the country,” said Hall.

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Logan Green

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