South Africa’s kit for the rearranged Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, designed by four young, emerging local designers from KwaZulu-Natal, has been unveiled.
Kit sponsor Mr. Price Sport has partnered with the four youngsters and revealed the bold on and off-the-field wear for the Olympic and Paralympic teams at the official kit launch.
The reveal was more of a low-key affair than originally planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there was no hiding the excitement among the small group of athletes who put on the kit for the first time in Durban.
This is the first time for the Olympic or Paralympic Games that South African athletes will wear kit produced locally.
The kit for Rio 2016 was made by Chinese company 361º and was criticised by athletes, officials and media who complained about its poor quality and the fact that it resembled, it was claimed, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
South Africa expects to take a team of about 140 to the Olympics and 30 to the Paralympics in the Japanese capital.
The four designers - Mbali Zulu, Nompumelelo Mjadu, Sandile Sikhakhane and Sipho Lushaba - are a product of the Durban Fashion Fair development programme which provides skills development and mentorship.
For the Opening Ceremony ensemble, the team will be wearing an animal print look, paired with vellies - leather field shoes - provided by Veldskoen.
We’re thrilled to reveal the official Team SA kit for the #Tokyo2020 @Olympics & @Paralympics— TeamSouthAfrica (@TeamSA2020) June 10, 2021
The kit was proudly designed by our partners @MrPriceSport alongside local designers from @Dbnfashion_fair #BringingBackUbuntu pic.twitter.com/roKgcjTub7
The Mr Price Sport team were driven to use their design talent to create an iconic team kit graphic in the form of the new, large protea icon.
"To support our athletes with a kit that will make them proud to be part of team SA," Dylan Cherry, head of marketing for Mr Price Sport, said.
"We’ve been pushed to innovate the athletes’ performance and medal ceremony kit for our athletes from locally produced super lightweight running vests with laser-cut edges and durable rugby sevens kits.
"An iconic team kit graphic in the form of the protea icon."
The "Maxed Elite" range developed by Mr Price Sport will supply both the technical apparel required for the multiple sporting events, as well as the tracksuits worn on the podium after each event.
"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," said South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee President, Barry Hendricks.
"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."