TEENAGE AMPUTEE LIGHTS UP THE TRACK

 
Updated: April 3, 2016

While the country’s rising sprint stars were flaunting their talent at the three-day SA Sub-Youth, Youth, Junior and Under-23 Championships, which came to a close in Germiston on Saturday, a potential future star snatched some of the limelight on the final day of competition.
Double amputee Ntando Mahlangu took third place in the sub-youth boys’ 400m final, earning the bronze medal and setting a senior world best of 50.08 seconds in the T42 class.
The unofficial mark, more than three seconds faster than his official world record set at the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Bloemfontein last month, will not be considered as a new record as it was set in an able-bodied race.
His coach, Cathy Landsberg, was nonetheless delighted with his performance as he continued to make huge strides, less than four years after receiving his first set of prosthetics from the Jumping Kids foundation and walked for the first time.
“His stronger event is the 200m. That’s where he started off,” Landsberg said.
“Someone said he should try the 400m, and he’s just been excelling at it, but he’s excellent in the 200m as well.”
Mahlangu has already achieved the A-qualifying standards in the 100m and 200m events for the Paralympic Games, but there is no 400m race in his class at the Rio showpiece.
Should he turn out over the shorter distances at the multi-sport Games, Mahlangu said he hoped to be even quicker, with five months left to prepare and improve before turning out against the world’s most accomplished disabled athletes.
“I need to work on my speed and just get used to the blades,” he said.