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By Victor Mecoamere | Jul 03, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

HILTON Langehoven's amazing triumphs over adversity has led to many accolades, especially after his exploits at the recent Beijing Paralympics.

HILTON Langehoven's amazing triumphs over adversity has led to many accolades, especially after his exploits at the recent Beijing Paralympics.

At the 2008 Jack Cheetham Memorial Awards Murray and Roberts decided to provide funding for sports people with disabilities from the dividend gains from the company's Letsema Sizwe Broad-Based Community Trust.

The broad-based BEE shareholder in the group identified Langehoven, a triple gold medallist in Beijing, as a beneficiary.

At the same event the Welkom Wrestling Club became the winner of the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award for sustainable development in sports.

The award is supported by Sowetan - for the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation - and by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

Impressed by his inspirational and truly motivational abilities to conquer almost insurmountable obstacles, Letsema Sizwe allocated R100000 a year over five years to Langenhoven to prepare for the 2012 Paralympics.

Langenhoven, competing mainly in category F12 long-jump events, competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece. He won a silver medal for the men's long jump F12, finished eighth in the men's 100 metres T12, eighth in the men's 200 metres T12 and fifth in the men's javelin F12.

At the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing in China, he won gold medals in the men's 200 metres T12, long jump F12 and the men's pentathlon P12.

According to biographical notes attributed to Dick Wensing of the Erinvale Care and Help Organisation , a nonprofit charity that has supported Langehoven since 2001, his childhood was fraught with problems.

He was born with albinism, and only 20percent vision. What others see at 60metres, he sees at three metres. He grew up without his dad.

At age six his aunt adopted him. But soon afterwards the aunt's husband died so she decided to send him to the Athlone School for the Blind in Belleville, Cape Town.

He took part in school concerts, sang in a choir, washed cars to raise train fare and worked in gardens during the school holidays .

Wensing writes that the better Langehoven did the harder he practised and when he excelled at long jump and javelin, he progressed to provincial level.

At 17 he represented South Africa in the Australian Junior Paralympic Championships and won six gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, javelin and long jump.

He was the fastest male athlete in all age groups. He also went to France with the senior team and that was the beginning of his phenomenally successful career in athletics.

Langehoven won gold medals in the SA Championships in 2003 and in 2004. Then, a silver medal at the Athens Paralympics in 2004, a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, four gold medals in the Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled in 2007 and a world record in long jump at the World Championships in the Netherlands in 2007.


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