WITH close to three decades in sport, veteran wheelchair racing athlete Elford Moyo says he is not sure what else would he be doing if he had not taken this path.
Moyo has dominated the local scene when it comes to wheelchair racing, winning most of the races and has competed in South Africa, which has become his second home when it comes to races.
He has been to Korea and Japan as well pursuing what he loves most.
“If I was not in sport I don’t know what I would be doing. I don’t think I would have made something out of myself . . . I would be a beggar, so I thank God for giving me that talent in sport.
“I have been in sport for a long time now. I started in the early 1990s. But before that, even in the late 80s, around 1987 I had started as an amateur. I have been dominating here in Zimbabwe since 94 that’s when I became popular,” said Moyo.
He is also into wheelchair basketball coaching and is the sport director at Danhiko.
“I am involved in a number of sporting codes . . . I have dominated in athletics, that’s where I am more involved. I am also involved as a coach for wheelchair basketball, besides coaching I also play. That’s why I say it’s a God-given talent.”
However, it has not been an easy path for him as he has had his own fair share of challenges dealing with some nasty comments.
But he did not let that pull him down and over the years the landscape has been changing as well as the attitudes towards people with disabilities.
“It was very tough, for people to accept that I was into sport. Even though now I am popular, it has been a tough road. You find other people discouraging you, saying nasty comments but others encourage you. I was able to overcome the obstacles and I have some good memories competing alongside Edmund Makutya.
“He is very supportive. We have been there in sport together for a very long time even though now he is taking it slow because of age.
“My wife Evelyn, she is very supportive as well when it comes to sport. I thank God I have an understating wife. Disability doesn’t mean inability yes of course, but if there is no supporting system it’s difficult,” said Moyo.
His dominance has not gone unnoticed as he has made the top three for the Annual National Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year with a Disability on a number of occasions.
Three years ago he won the African Union Sports Council Region Five Regional Annual Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year with a Disability. He had won the 2017 Annual National Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year with a Disability to qualify for the regional award.
“I have many awards that I have won. I have been onto the podium so many times since 2006 up to date. The one I cherish is the RASA award I won in South Africa. I was first and it was something I wasn’t expecting,” Moyo said. .
At 53, Moyo says he still has more years as an athlete.
“I am turning 54 this year. I think I still have more years to compete and training is the best medicine,” Moyo said.
Although he acknowledges sport for changing his life, Moyo says it is not well-paying for people with disabilities and would want to see an improvement on the rewards.
He would also want to see more being done to involve people with disabilities at different levels so that they can also make a living from sport.