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Team South Africa kit for Tokyo Olympics celebrates local designers

L-R: Anaso Jobodwana, Erin Gallagher, Emma Chelius, Bridgitte Hartley, Tyrone Pillay, Jethro Eustice, Khotso Mokoena, Mustapha Cassiem, Christian Sadie. Mr Price Sport - Tim Lubbe

Team South Africa unveiled their kit for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, showcasing a relaxed and comfortable style by four local designers.

The kit was modelled at the launch by the likes of long jumper Kgotso Mokeona, swimmer Erin Gallagher, canoeist Bridgitte Hartley, and Paralympic shot put athlete Tyrone Pillay.

The opening ceremony outfit brings to mind the bushveld and being out in nature, with the official team shoes done by Veldskoen, a brand of the traditional leather shoe worn by the likes of Prince Harry.

"This is a special moment for our brand and business. A full circle. We are so proud to be a part of the South African Olympic effort," CEO and co-founder of Veldskoen, Nick Dreyer said.

In 2020, four up-and-coming Durban designers were selected to style the athletes representing South Africa at the opening ceremonies in Tokyo.

Their brief: To create an authentic South African kit that fellow competing countries would want to wear themselves.

Durban-based designer Mbali Zulu, one of the opening ceremony ensemble designers, said: "I have always loved to watch the Olympics so getting this amazing opportunity to design the opening outfit was a dream come true."

SASCOC president Barry Hendrick congratulated the four designers. "It's wonderful for Team SA to be able to showcase the incredible talent of these four young designers on the biggest sports stage of all.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to put their work on the global map. Our Team SA athletes will wear the kit with pride and the way they look and dress will be eye-catching to the rest of the competing nations."

The designers are a product of the Durban Fashion Fair development programme which provides skills development and mentorship. This is the first time that the South African Olympic and Paralympic team apparel is designed locally.

The Olympics start on 23 July, while the Paralympics start on 24 August, two weeks after the Olympics closing ceremony.