Imagen
29367-Mpumelelo Mhlongo photo

Mpumelelo Mhlongo

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired muscle power
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T44, F44

Further personal information

Residence
Cape Town, RSA
Occupation
Athlete, Business Owner, Student
Languages
Afrikaans, English, French, Portuguese, Xhosa, Zulu
Higher education
Chemical Engineering - University of Cape Town: South Africa

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport in 2001 in Pinetown, South Africa. He took up Para athletics in 2014 at the University of Cape Town Athletics Club in South Africa.
Why this sport?
He liked playing team sports growing up and saw it as a way of making friends. "It was through trying to get fit for soccer again in university, and I joined the track and field team of the University of Cape Town. I was at one of the meets, just trying to do my high jump — I'm a big fan of high jump, it was my second love after soccer. Then a guy came up to me and he was like, 'What's wrong with your leg?' And I said, 'Uh, I don't know, what's wrong with yours?' He said, 'It looks like you could actually be classified as a Para athlete'."
Club / Team
University of Cape Town Athletics Club: South Africa
Name of coach
Jason Sewanyana [personal]

International debut

Year
2015
Competing for
South Africa

General interest

Nicknames
Mpumi (kearsney.com, 01 Jan 2015)
Most influential person in career
His mother. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
South African Para sprinter Ntando Mahlangu. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Injuries
He developed patellar tendinitis [jumper's knee] while in grade nine at high school. The injury prevented him from competing in several European competitions in early 2016. (uct.ac.za, 20 Jul 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"To be great means to enjoy what you do a little more every day." (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2019 he received the Sportsman with a Disability of the Year award at the Cape Town District Sports Awards in South Africa. (southernmail.co.za, 25 Nov 2020)

He was named the Sportsperson of the Year from 2015 to 2019 by the University of Cape Town in South Africa, becoming the first person to receive the award at the university for five consecutive years. (news.uct.ac.za, 15 Oct 2019; news.uct.ac.za, 22 Oct 2018; Athlete, 12 Jul 2017; southernmail.co.za, 25 Nov 2020)
Other sports
He played football at primary school and was offered a place at the academy of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns. However, his father did not allow him to join and he started high school instead. In his youth he made the provincial swimming, cricket and soccer teams. (uct.ac.za, 20 Jul 2016; chaelicampaign.org, 01 Dec 2020)
Famous relatives
His younger brother Asane has competed in sprinting. (uct.ac.za, 20 Jul 2016)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, to jump 7.80 metres in long jump and improve on his time in the 100m event. (southernmail.co.za, 25 Nov 2020)
Impairment
He was born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition at birth when the foetus becomes entangled in fibrous amniotic bands in the womb, restricting blood flow. He was also born with congenital talipes equinovarus [club foot]. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017; varsitynewspaper.co.za, 28 Jul 2015)
Other information
AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
In 2019 he began the #SomeoneWhoCares campaign on social media to bring greater attention to the challenges of people living with impairments. "This is not just an African challenge but one for the entire world, even if the situation within my continent seems that much more bleak. The truth is that despite being part of the community, I do not know how to change the way the disabled are viewed in South Africa and other countries across the continent. However, I do believe that through my successes as a Para athlete and advocacy, a global spotlight can be shone on this issue, and if that can happen, change could happen." In 2020 he used his partnership with a betting company to inject funds into the Western Province Sport Association for the Physically Disabled [WPSAPD], and donate sports equipment. (medium.com, 12 Jul 2019; southernmail.co.za, 25 Nov 2020)

BUSINESS OWNER
In 2018 he co-founded digital healthcare company Steady State with high school and university classmate Zain Bana. "After I lost two of my family members to bad public healthcare efficiencies, we sat down and tried to address the problem ourselves with the skillset we had. It morphed into many things, but it ended with us saying there are three major issues that face healthcare - high prices, poor care coordination and an onslaught of chronic disease. We decided that digital health can address all these problems at once. We want to get involved in public healthcare to provide simple solutions that could save lives. In the digital age, we should never have people dying in hospital because they're understaffed." (newframe.com, 05 Jun 2020; mg.co.za, 02 Aug 2019; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019)

FURTHER EDUCATION
In 2018 he graduated with a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The following year he continued to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at the same university. He expects to graduate in 2021. (mg.co.za, 02 Aug 2019; medium.com, 12 Jul 2019; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019)

CHOIR SINGER
He was a part of the Kearsney College choir team that won the folklore category at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, OH, United States of America. (Athlete, 23 Oct 2015)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump T44 Final 1 2015-10-23 4
Men's 100 m T44 Heat 1 2015-10-29 4
Men's 100 m T44 Final 1 2015-10-29 6
Men's High Jump T44 Final 1 2015-10-30 5
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T44 Heat 2 2016-09-08 5
Men's Long Jump T44 Final Round 2016-09-17 6
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T44 Final 1 2017-07-16 7
Men's 100 m T44 Heat 1 2017-07-16 8
Men's Long Jump T44 Final 1 2017-07-17 4
Men's 200 m T44 Heat 1 2017-07-21 4
Men's 200 m T44 Final 1 2017-07-22 5