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OSCAR PISTORIOUS might have sensationally fallen from grace but a video of the South Africa “blade athlete” inspired a Zimbabwean boy into taking up athletics.
Pride Mafa, who was born with a missing fibular bone on his right leg, was only six when he saw the video of Pistorious on the track.
His father credits that encounter with making his son believe in himself.
“I always took him to the internet café to watch videos of amputees going on with life and sport but it was not until the day I showed him Oscar that my son really lightened up,” said Frederick Mafa, the athlete’s father.
“I had already started doing some exercises with him in the backyard but there are days when he would just cry and refuse to train.
“However, since the day he saw a video of Oscar, that stopped being a problem at all.”
Now 13 and a Form One pupil at Prince Edward School, the strong willed Pride is in no mood to let his condition stand in the way of his athletics dream.
“I am determined to be an athlete and do not want people to feel sorry for me,” said the young Mafa.
“Occasionally, I meet fellow students who make fun of me but that doesn’t bother me at all, I know what I want and will work hard towards attaining my goal.”
Pride, who is classified as T44/F44, is determined to participate at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
However, for him to realize his dream, the athletics starlet needs a new blade.
“The blade he is currently using was supposed to have been changed in January but because of financial challenges it is yet to be changed,” revealed Frederick.
“The blade is now small and makes him stagger at times,, which makes it difficult for him to train.”
Pride attended school at Chinotimba Primary in Victoria Falls which was almost two kilometers away from his home and his parents used to carry him on the back to and from school every day.
In 2011, he met Jim Cahill, a right leg below knee American amputee in Victoria Falls, who offered to assist him in getting a prosthetic leg.
“Despite his age, Pride understood what the prosthetic leg meant for him and his athletics dream. He was motivated to train even harder,” said the athlete’s father.
Eight months later, Cahill invited the family to America where Mafa got trained as a prosthetic technician to be able to evaluate, fabricate and care for his son’s prosthesis.
Pride was invited to the Nedbank Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where the then 12-year-old competed in the Under 16 category.
Prince scooped a gold medal in 100 meters and silver medal in high jump.
“I could not hold back my tears as I watched my son participate in his first real race,” said Frederick.
“It made me realize that nothing can stop him. As a family, we will support him all the way, just like what we have been doing since the day he was born.”