Four years down the line, Ntando Mahlangu for the first time had stepped out of his wheelchair to participate in Paralympics. T42 category at Rio, 200metres, he joined and won a silver medal in 2016 Paralympics, shinning his name out of unknown identity.
Ntando was shunned in Brazil by more experienced Richard Whitehead in his event, and just last recently, he turned the tables upside down during London Diamond League, beating his opponent Briton and doubling up Anniversary Games for Britain.
Mahlangu believes his determination stands out firm. despite the disability, thinking positive always and ready to take himself the far he can. He says he’s got food to eat, a house to live in, and he is fully motivated, that’s a privilege.” He also adds,”I never see disabled or abled, a disabled guy can be president.”
With his double above knee amputee, the fact that he is still in High school has got a sterling career ahead as a Paralympian, and at his age 16, his potential is beneath sprinting for the next decades and even beyond.
He was full of confidence and his outlook exuded a positive attitude to life when he was approached with BBC Sports Africa. That was when he broke the South African junior champion’s record. He told the BBC that, “The best is yet to come, I won’t predict when it’s going to be, but for sure in the years coming.”
He had Hemimonia condition and was confined to a wheelchair for the first 10 years of his life. Below the knees, his legs hadn’t fully developed since he was born. Since 2012 when he was fixed with blades to assist him to walk, his life transformed. He made a decision with the charity that helps disabled children, called Jumping Kids in South Africa that he was interested to join football. They assisted him to acquire the prosthetics.
He explained to the BBC the moment his rights were granted, it was the time he started enjoying life to his fullest, that’s when he started living having privileges to be a guy enough, making him who he is today.
Almost everyone, including Paralympics officials, is very confident that Ntando will rise up to be a stardom in a near future. This is echoed by Leon Fleiser, who used to be a South Africa’s chef de mission in Rio, saying, “Seeing what he did in Rio in 2014 I can’t wait to be in Tokyo to see what he is going to do. Ntando is an ambassador not just for the Paralympian fraternity but for all people with disability.”
Despite his looks and dreams to the near future of breaking more records, Mahlangu is not interested to be identified as a blade runner star, but he believes in himself and wants to be that way, not even comparing him to other Paralympics.
Despite conquering and getting better qualifications in Rio Paralympics, he’s looking at his silver medal as little as a flaming candle on a cake. He’s beyond getting the rewards and he only needs to enjoy himself during these games, not even being preoccupied with becoming star athlete prospects.
He considers himself as an inspiration, which he meant to be a good thing. He joined and inspired jumping Kids, which as a charity, formally donated prosthetic blades for him. This is considered to be a hard-work, by Michael Steven, Charity’s operational manager.
He says Ntando makes the full use of the provided kits, as it’s a difficult task for a double amputee person like Ntando to leverage the hard-work in games, and making it to the finals. His great work inspired other children at a charity center.
Besides athletics, Ntando has a dream of becoming a Doctor or an Engineer, as he is focusing a lot on his school work. He studies from a high school in Pretoria with a goal of joining university and pursue his dream jobs. Disability is not inability. #Rewordit