Mahlangu fit and ready for Paralympics in Japan

Teenage sensation says he has matured with age

Ntando Mahlangu of South Africa competes in the Women's 200m T61 Final on day eight of the World Para Athletics Championships at the Dubai Club for People with Determination on November 14, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Ntando Mahlangu of South Africa competes in the Women's 200m T61 Final on day eight of the World Para Athletics Championships at the Dubai Club for People with Determination on November 14, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Image: Moto Yoshimura/Getty Images

SA’s celebrated Paralympian, Ntando Mahlangu, cannot wait for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, to begin.

In 2016, the teenager was only 14 years old at the Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil. Fast forward to 2021; the sprinter is 19 years old and regarded as a senior in his event. The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) celebrated the 100 days countdown to the Games at Olympic House in Johannesburg yesterday. The Games will take place from August 24 to September 5.

Mahlangu, who is likely to be chosen Team SA’s flag bearer at this year[s Games, is eyeing a gold medal in the men's 100m T42 and 200m T61 events.

Five years ago, Mahlangu won a silver medal in the 200m T61 event and he wants to go one step better in Tokyo.

“I am excited and it’s the same for all athletes. We are happy that it is happening this year. It is the biggest event that an athlete wants to compete in,” Mahlangu told Sowetan yesterday.

“We were on lockdown and could not train and that was a problem. We used the time to spend with family – it was emotional,” he said.

The energetic sprinter said he would use the remaining days to work on his fitness level. “We will try to change the approach and fix the little things so that I am in the best possible condition and the right frame of mind. I have to be consistent and make sure that we make it to the 100 days fit.” 

Mahlangu has competed in several events this year to keep fit.

“My times look good... I smashed the world record two weeks ago at the SA championships, I ran a 23.09. Emotionally, I am in a better place than I was in Rio. The age plays a big difference,” he said.

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