Ntando Mahlangu will be a popular choice to earn Team SA’s first medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics when he takes part in the men’s T63 long jump final on Saturday evening.
In fact, it promises to be a memorable night on the track as Anrune Weyers is also aiming for gold in the women’s T47 400m final. Both Mahlangu and Weyers are the current world record holders in their respective events and are full of confidence heading into their competition.
“Coming into these Games I have done something special,” Mahlangu said in reference to his blades, which were inscribed with names of people who’d helped him on his journey after he’d won silver in the 200m at Rio 2016. “I have done something similar for my long jump blades and my 200m blades. There will be two different designs. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it is very special. I will share the story of the design after each event.
“As a person I started to believe in myself a lot more. I’m also emotionally and mentally a lot stronger. The speed and the physicality are very important, but what I have gone through has made me a better person than I was in 2016. I’ve worked on my strength and running style, but the first thing we had to do was to make sure I was emotionally right for the Games. Having that, I feel a lot more confident going into the competition,” the 19-year-old Mahlangu said.
This is how TeamSA shape up for day four of competition in Tokyo.
9am (2am) Men’s Individual Compund (Open, W2) 1/32 elimination round: Philip Coates-Palgrave takes on Brazil’s Andre De Casto
11.16am (4.16am) Men’s 100m (T38), heat 2: Dyan Buis. The first 3 in each heat plus the next 2 fastest qualify for the final
7.35pm (12.35pm) Men’s 100m (T38), final: Possibly Dyan Buis
7.51pm (12.51pm): Men’s Long Jump (T63), final: Ntando Mahlangu and Michael Mabote are in the 10-man field. Mahlangu is the world record holder with 6.47m
9.07pm (2.07pm): Women’s 400m (T47), final: Anrune Weyers
9.45am (4.45am): Women’s 150m IM (SM4), heat 1: Kat Swanepoel. The top 8 times from the three heats qualify for the final
11.09am (4.09am) Men’s 100m breaststroke (SB5), heat 2: Hendrik van der Merwe. The top 8 times from the two heats qualify for the final
5.36pm (10.36am): Women’s 150m IM (SM4), final: Possibly Kat Swanepoel
7.10pm (12.10pm) Men’s 100m breaststroke (SB5), heat 2: Possibly Hendrik van der Merwe
Not before 3.30pm (8.30am): Women’s singles, first round: Mariska Venter vs No5 seed Momoko Ohtani (Japan)
Not before 3.30pm (8.30am): Women’s singles, first round: No6 seed Kgothatso Montjane Venter vs Saki Takamuro (Japan)
Not before 4.30pm (9.30am): Men’s doubles, first round: Leon Els and Evans Maripa vs Casey Ratzlaff and Connor Stroud (USA)
Photo: Anrune Weyers by Roger Sedres