Ntando Mahlangu is the T61 class bilateral above-knee amputation world record holder in the 100, 400 and 800m. He is the paralympic and world championship silver medallist in the 200m and the junior world record holder in the 100, 200, 400 and 800m and long jump. Both able-bodied and disabled local athletes can compete against him on 8 September. Photo supplied.
Date: 11 August 2018 By: Jo Robinson
A unique event for both able-bodied and disabled athletes will be hosted at Louis Trichardt High School on Saturday, 8 September.
The organising team, Is Ability, says that, first and foremost, this is a fun event for everyone, children and adults. No entry criteria or classification of qualifying times or experience will be needed, and no entry fee will be charged for athletes to participate or for spectators. Participants will also receive a special gift package, which will include a free lunch pack, and refreshments will be sold throughout the day for spectators.
Events will include track events such as sprints consisting of 60m, 80m, 100m, 200m, 400m, as well as field events, including shotput and wheelchair shotput, discus, javelin and wheelchair javelin.
“We will be honoured with the presence of our very own South African Paralympic sporting hero, Ntando Mahlangu, who will not only DJ the Dance-a-thon but will also be competing against all the able-bodied runners who sign up for the exhibition relay race planned for the day,” said Sandy James, one of the organisers of this once-off event. Anyone who would like to run against Ntando is invited to contact any of the organisers listed below. SABC2 will also have a cameraman on site to film the event for part of their Beyond Boundaries series, which focuses on sports for the disabled. Talent scouts will also be there looking for future champions.
As well as the dance-a-thon, a jumping castle will be on site for the little ones. Local clubs for the disabled have also been invited to participate, and a great turnout is anticipated by the local organisers for the event, including Sandy (former principal of the Emmanuel Christian School), Louisa Kirsten (Paralympic Assessor), Adri Theron (Retired Physiotherapist), and Sheryl James (BA Health and Social Sciences), who are working closely with the hosts to bring it all together.
Sandy said that Is Ability is a Gauteng-based sports club and academy that caters for able-bodied and disabled athletes alike, both adults and children. “They have a branch called ‘Jumping Kids’, which is a registered non-profit organisation that facilitates the provision of prosthetic limbs for amputees, particularly children, who cannot afford medical assistance. It has facilitated the participation of a number of teams at World Wheelchair and Para-games Ireland. The Is Ability club states that a “disabled athlete does not seek or need pity, or even want to be regarded as disabled, but only the opportunity to participate and function without prejudice in a society where sport is a valuable component, whether it be for competitive purposes or just for recreation and fun,” said Sandy.
According to Sandy, a highlight of the day will happen on site when a child who is an amputee will be fitted with a prosthetic limb for the first time as a “demonstration – inspiration” and will then participate competitively as part of the Jumping Kids initiative.
“If anyone in the community feels inspired to assist in any way, be it financially or as voluntary hands and feet, please contact one of us. Hopefully this could be the beginning of many future events, including different sports, where able-bodied and disabled people can participate together,” said Sandy.
Athletes are requested to arrive at 08:00 to register. The event will take place from 08:30 until 14:30. For more information, phone Sandy (084 506 3333), Sheryl James (061 023 0771), Louisa Kirsten (083 361 5983) or email them at email@example.com. This event is being held in partnership with the Makhado Municipality and the full support of the mayor Shonisani Sinyosi.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.