ZIMBABWE’s only blade runner Pride Tandiwanashe Mafira (14) is conquering the outside with many international medals to his name.
Rarely known in Zimbabwe, Pride who is now registered with IsAbility Sport Club in South Africa (SA) has participated in international events where he has become more popular than in Zimbabwe where he is born and bred.
Recently, Pride scooped two gold medals in the National Championships for South Africa Sports for Physically Disabled in Stellenbosch, South Africa in the T44 100 meter race and the F64 Shot Put respectively.
Born and bred in Victoria Falls, Pride has not been involved in Zimbabwean sporting activities but has participated in South Africa and the world over where he is making waves.
In an interview with Celebrity, Pride’s father, Fredrick Mafira, who is his coach and manager said he felt his son should be given an opportunity to participate in Zimbabwe as he has the ability to lift the country’s flag internationally.
“I feel that my son should be given an opportunity to participate locally because it will help build self-esteem in him and building confidence. He can also inspire other kids with disabilities to participate in sport and other different activities. If he participates locally and be seen by parents with children like him it will help change their mindset and perspective towards their kids with disabilities.
“Pride is an inspiration, he can inspire more people regardless of their status whether physically challenged or able bodied. Regardless of the challenges we have encountered we have continued doing sport so we are encouraging others not to give up,” he said.
Asked if Pride has participated in Zimbabwean event, he said, “He only got one chance to participate in Gwanda in 2016 and that was the only event so we are just waiting for the invitation from the Sports and Recreation Council for him to compete locally and lift the country’s flag high.”
Mr Mafira said they have plans to meet with the Paralympics Committee and let them know about his achievements abroad.
“I feel the Government should incorporate parents of these children with disabilities. They should incorporate special needs class teachers as they spend more time with the kids and understand them better. For Pride’s case, he should be representing Zimbabwe because he is the only blade runner in the country. They need to be empowered and uplifted because if parents are involved they would come forward and support their kids.”
In 2017, Pride participated in the Nedbank National Championships in Port Elizabeth, SA in the T44 100 meter race and Shot Put and scooped a gold and silver medal respectively.
The same year he was supposed to go to Portugal for the International Wheelchair Amputee Sports (IWAS) but could not go because of lack of sponsorship.
In 2018 he also failed to attend the Nedbank National Championships in SA due to financial challenges.
He also failed to participate in Nambia’s National Paralympics where he was supposed to compete with their only blade runner, because he was writing his Grade 7 examinations.
Pride later participated at the O.R Tambo Soncini Social Cohesion Games hosted by Gauteng Sports, Art, Culture and Recreation and scooped two gold medals in the T44 100 meter race and Shot Put respectively.
On November 3, he participated in the trials to represent Gauteng Province Paralympics for the March National Paralympics in Stellenbosch, SA.
He was also supposed to go and participate at IWAS in Dubai in February this year but did not go because of lack of sponsorship.