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World Record for Mahlangu!

28 August 2021

Ntando jumping for gold. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

By Simon Manda

With a personal best performance earlier today in Tokyo, Ntando Mahlangu broke the world record in the men’s long jump category T63 to clinch the gold medal at the 2020 Paralympics Games.

Although Ntando falls in the category T61, he still led a pack of predominantly T63 category athletes clearing 7.17 metres ahead of Leon Schaefer of Germany, who came in at 7.12 metres to take the silver medal and Denmark’s Daniel Wagner, who clinched the bronze medal at 7.07 metres.

Leading in today’s final, Mahlangu was competing in the long jump event for the first time and his prospects were very narrow against a team of seasoned athletes that he was competing with.

This is the 19 year old’s first gold medal at the Paralympics and South Africa is waiting expectantly  for his track event next week where he will compete in the T42 men’s 200 metres.

In an earlier interview this past week, Ntando expressed his wish for a gold in the track event to better his silver medal that he won in the past Brazilian Paralympics in 2016.

Ntando’s gold medal win brings South Africans’ tally to two gold medals so far after Anrune Weyers’ win in the women’s 400 metres T47 race earlier today also. Anrune won the race in 56.05 seconds.

Ntando is featured in the 2020 ground-breaking Paralympic documentary, Rising Phoenix, that won two Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary and Outstanding Music Direction. In the docmentary, Ntando can be seen racing a cheetah to showcase his prowess as an athlete.

Ntando was born with hemilia, a condition where the lower leg failed to develop, and spent his childhood using a wheelchair until 2012 when he started using blades after having both feet amputated.

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