Everyone makes mistakes – Springbok's own blade runner on his role model Oscar

2016-07-06 08:04
Celvino Cloete, 24, comes from Springbok and says he is the only blade runner in the Northern Cape. Oscar Pistorius remains his role model despite the trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Celvino Cloete, 24, comes from Springbok and says he is the only blade runner in the Northern Cape. Oscar Pistorius remains his role model despite the trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Springbok – The Northern Cape's own blade runner Celvino Cloete, who was inspired after seeing Oscar Pistorius on the news, says the former Paralympian remains his role model.

"Despite Oscar and his murder case, he is still my role model because he motivated me in a way that even though you may have a disability, you can still do something," Cloete told News24 on Tuesday, a day before Pistorius's sentencing for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete, from the Springbok suburb of Bergsig, used to compete in races and marathons on crutches.

He felt a lot more comfortable when he got his sponsored blade in 2014. Last May, he clocked 13.61 seconds in the 100m race and 28.20 seconds in the 200m race at the SA Open.

Cloete was in primary school when he broke his ankle, caught an infection and had to have his leg amputated.

It did not hold him back from playing with his friends as a child, even riding a bike.

Seeing a blade for the first time

In matric he watched a movie about Nick Vujicic, an Australian motivational speaker who had no arms or legs because of a rare disorder. He felt Vujicic was sending him a message not to let his disability get him down.

Without hesitation he decided to run and start exercising.

"I got my crutches and started practicing," said the soft-spoken 24-year-old.

Not long after that he spotted Pistorius on the news. It was the first time he had seen an athlete with a blade. He too wanted one.

"He motivated me because I saw how quickly he ran," said Cloete. "I decided I also wanted to run like that."

Many children in Springbok look up to Cloete and want to be athletes. Motivational speaking keeps him busy.

Life goes on

Thinking of his role model, he said he was heartbroken for Pistorius because no one was perfect.

"He is a good person and everyone makes mistakes."

At the same time, he said, Pistorius should serve the sentence he received and realise that life goes on.

He shouldn't sit back and feel sorry for himself, advised the youngster who lost both his parents to illnesses while in high school.

His aunt, who cannot work because one of her legs is shorter than the other, raised him and his siblings.

Getting finances to buy running shoes and enter competitions is a challenge for the unemployed athlete who lives off a R1 500 grant.


(Supplied to News24)

Giving back

This, however, has not discouraged him and he dreams of setting new records, running in the Paralympics and helping underprivileged children.

"I also want to open a gym and help kids to go to school," said Cloete, referring to the example set by his coach Mario Baadjies.

Baadjies said his student did not hesitate to give something back in return for the free coaching.

"He said 'Coach, I will clean your gym!'. He has a bright future."

Various provincial officials and heads of sport have apparently made promises to help Cloete.

With local elections around the corner, Baadjies said, it remained to be seen whether these would come to fruition.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  kimberley  |  pistorius trial

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