Mokgalagadi an unsung hero

2011-02-05 19:31

South African para-athlete Teboho Mokgalagadi has achieved more than some of his able-bodied peers, yet he
remains the country’s unsung hero.

His double gold at the recent International Paralympic Committee World Athlete Championships is just another of the many accolades adorning his home in Jagersfontein in Free State.

But Mokgalagadi’s name is virtually never mentioned in the same breath as those of fellow Paralympian heroes Oscar Pistorius and Hilton Langenhoven.

The 24-year-old cerebral palsy athlete – along with “Blade Runner” Pistorius (400m and relay) and Isle Hayes (200m and long jump) – was a member of Team South Africa and scooped double gold at the Queen Elizabeth II Park in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week.

Mokgalagadi won gold in the 200m event and defended his title in the 100m; in the process he altered his own record with a championship mark of 12.96. His previous record, which he attained in Assen city, The Netherlands, in 2006, stood at 12.98.

Despite being in the shadow of his revered national team-mates Pistorius and Langenhoven, he
remains modest.

Said the man who is a salesperson at a clothing store in Bloemfontein: “I am not complaining as I do my business on the track and history will speak for me.”

With the next Paralympics just a year away in England, Mokgalagadi said he was already gearing up for the London spectacle. “I want to retain my title and achieve a better record in the 100m next year.”

The 200m record he set in Greece six years ago still stands. “I had a back problem at the Beijing Paralympics (in 2008) but at least I pushed myself to the limit and brought home a bronze medal.”

With the championships having come and gone, this year is still going to be a busy year for the sprinter.

He said: “I am targeting the South African Championship and the Individual European Championships to build up for London.”

Despite listing lack of sponsorship among the challenges in his career, Mokgalagadi’s trail on the track reflects a footprint of someone who was destined for greatness from the beginning.

His debut on the international front took off in spectacular fashion when he claimed double gold in the sprint in the Greek capital, Athens, in 2004.

At that very event, Mokgalagadi established himself as a record-breaker of note when he delivered his victory in the 100m in a world record 13.07, while his 200m gold medal came with a Paralympic record of 26.80.

He was later toppled by Sen Yang of China, who set the world record of 12.29 in Beijing in 2008.

Mokgalagadi said: “When I retire I want to look back and read about the all-time best in the world, with my name up there.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.