Durban - He may have finished last, but a 71-year-old amputee inspired by Olympian Oscar Pistorius kept his head held high during the 200m race at the Golden Games for the over-60s in Durban on Tuesday.
Sibusiso Mzolo, who was representing the eThekwini district at the games at Kings Park Athletics Stadium, refused to quit despite developing severe cramps.
“I was quite positive before the race started and, had it not been for the cramps I suffered halfway, I would probably have won the event,” he said gamely.
Mzolo’s right arm was amputated after a car accident in the early 2000s, but this did not put a stop to his daily routine of exercising and participating in sports, including athletics and soccer.
The eThekwini Mthande Society for the Aged resident told the Daily News he kept himself fit by training vigorously and watching his diet.
“I eat a lot of boiled vegetables, fish, chicken and a little bit of beef. I neither smoke nor drink. I drew a lot of inspiration from the Blade Runner – I became his biggest fan,” Mzolo said, referring to national hero Pistorius.
“I learnt one valuable lesson in life: never give up, no matter what the odds are.”
Miriam Molamong, a sports organiser at Mthande, praised Mzolo for his “never-say-die attitude” during training.
Molamong’s observations could well be true of many of the 1 500 athletes, all aged 60 or more, who competed with plenty of guts and enthusiasm at Tuesday’s games.
In another men’s second category event, Caiaphas Macuba Gabuza, 72, from uThukela District Municipality, won the 100m.
He was full of praise for the organisers of the games.
“We exercised a lot preparing for these games. I now feel healthy and strong. A combination of eating traditional food and jogging regularly has helped stabilise my diabetes,” said Gabuza.
A grandmother of three, Kannama Moodley, 62, from eThekwini, was the winner in the 200m women’s event. She said her inspiration came from yoga classes and her team, Longcroft Senior Citizens.
“My advice to the youth is to take part in sport and abstain from deadly substances.”
Rangasamy Naidoo, 64, of eThekwini, took part in a game of jukskei, the traditional boeresport that involves throwing skeis at an upright peg.
“I am a member of the senior Chatsworth athletic club. I was asthmatic, but through vigorous training have overcome the illness,” he said.
Balungile Myeza, 62, of uThungulu District, told how good planning helped her win the 200m ladies race.
“I was a bit scared, and I told myself that once I came around the corner, I would accelerate and sprint forward to win the race,” she said proudly.
“Preparing for these games helped me a lot to overcome asthma, arthritis and diabetes,” Myeza said.
Golden Games sport co-ordinator Brenda Brower said she was happy with how the games had gone, but was disappointed that the white community had not supported them.
“Whites are pioneers of these games, but their participation has dwindled,” she said.
She said a team of 106 athletes, across a number of codes, would be selected to represent KwaZulu-Natal at the Golden Games nationals in the North West Province in October. - Daily News