Blind athlete needs sponsor

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

For the first time in 10 years, Richard Monisi could miss out on running in two of South Africa's most gruelling marathons.

Monisi, 39, of Riverlea, Johannesburg, dreamt of taking in the Two Oceans Marathon on March 22 and the Comrades in June, but with less than three weeks to go before the prestigious race in Cape Town, Monisi's chances of taking part are seem slim.

The blind athlete's sponsorship deal with a major international sportswear manufacturer expired last year and he has since struggled to compete in tournaments outside Johannesburg.

"Running locally is not such a big problem because I can manage my own transport and accommodation," Monisi says.

A packager at Service for the Blind in Newclare, Johannesburg, Monisi cannot afford transport and accommodation for him and his leader, Florence Munyei.

"I can pay for myself and Florence for races in Gauteng, but running outside the province is a problem."

Munyei runs next to Monisi and they keep pace with each other by means of a belt attached to their arms.

He says a sponsor will also ensure that Munyei's needs are catered for during major events.

Monisi won in the disabled category of the Soweto Marathon in 2005 and has also completed the famous New York City marathons race since his late start as an athlete in 1998.