'My dream came true' says Ntando Mahlangu as he pockets over R1 million for two gold medals
South African Paralympic sensation Ntando Mahlangu bagged his second gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympics yesterday, when he won the 200m in the T61 category. Mahlangu who is the world record holder in the event, clocked 23.59 to cross the finish line ahead of Great Britain's Richard Whitehead with Ali Lacin of Germany in third. Speaking to the SASCOC media team in Japan, the 19-year-old couldn't contain his excitement.
"What a great run I had! I think coming into the race I had to make a lot of decisions without my coach (Neil Cornelius). But I'm so happy with the results and I'm no longer worrying about those things now. I'm so happy with the gold medals, two Paralympics medals. I think that was the dream coming here and that dream did come true in the end," said an elated Mahlangu.
Mahlangu, who claimed the silver medal behind Whitehead in the same event at #Rio2016 had a slow start this time around before picking the momentum in the last 100m. The man who hails from KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga said that was part of the plan as the track was slippery.
"When I was preparing for my start I could feel that the track was slippery and I almost fell in my training start," he explained. "Going to the race I had to give out my start which wasn't something we had planned with the coach. I think the coach will give me a lot of trouble after this, but I was prepared to give the start away which is very risky. But I believed in myself and executed the run time then everything was ready to happen and I'm so happy!"
Mahlangu, who also set another world record when he won the long jump in the T63 category, will pocket R450 000 for his effort from the Department of Sport and Recreation Nathi for his gold medal in the sprint. It means that in total, the Afrikaanse Höer Seunskool learner will pocket R900 000 for his two #Tokyo2021 gold medals plus R180 000 for breaking the world record, while R240 000 will go to his coach .