Don’t call me Oscar, I’m Ntando
Teenaged blade runner Ntando Mahlangu doesn’t like being called ‘Oscar Pistorius’ - not because Oscar is a killer, but because he wants to be known as “Ntando the star” in his own right.
The Constantia Park Primary School Grade 7 pupil is flattered to be compared to Pistorius - but insists he wants to be his own man one day.
The 14-year-old shot to the spotlight after he added a bronze medal to his growing collection when he competed against able-bodied athletes in the sub-youth 400 metres at the national championships earlier this month.
The youngster, who had both his legs amputated after he was born with a condition known as hemimelia, has been likened to the disgraced Pistorius as a result.
His life changed when he was fitted with carbon-fibre cheetah blades in 2012 by the Jumping Kids Prosthetic Fund, a non-profit organisation.
Mahlangu took four gold medals at the 2016 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, setting a world record with a time of 53.19 seconds in the 400m race.
“Everyone calls me Oscar Pistorius now, including my family. I’m honoured by the comparison, but I would like to be known as Ntando,” he said.
Mahlangu said his friends and classmates treated him the same as before.
“I haven’t had my prosthetic legs for a long time, but I'm glad I can finally do things I thought were impossible after the amputation.”
He said, while he had tried his hand at soccer and hockey, he had fallen in love with dee-jaying in his spare time, and was an avid fan of house music DJ Black Coffee.
“It would be such an honour to meet Black Coffee and maybe even play with him when I get better one day,” he said.
His coach, Cathy Landsberg, said Mahlangu was improving every day and was always keen to give of his best: “We practise four days a week, and he works really hard all the time. He’s a very disciplined athlete, despite his youth,” Landsberg said. - Saturday Star