South Africa’s teenage track star enjoyed a terrific season in 2017, dominating the World Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, with four gold medals and new 100m T42 (12.01) and 400m T42 (49.92) world records in the process – all at just 15-years-old.
Those achievements came just weeks after he won 200m T42 silver behind Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead at the London 2017 World Championships.
Born with hemimelia, which meant his legs didn’t fully develop below the knees, Mahlangu spent much of his early life in a wheelchair.
Then in 2012 the decision was made to amputate both legs at the knee. In September that year Mahlangu received his first set of blades through the South African charity Jumping Kids – and he hasn’t looked back.
Four years later the South African lined up at his first Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. At just 14-years-old – one of the youngest competitors at the Games – he finished second behind defending champion Whitehead in the men’s 200m T42, setting a new African record (23.77) in the process.
Mahlangu’s potential had already been clear - in 2015 he won the 200m and 400m T42 at the IWAS World Junior Games in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands; a year later at the IWAS Under 23 World Games in Prague, Czech Republic, he won four gold medals and set what was then a new world record in the 400m T42. He returned home with the ‘Best Athlete of the Games’ award.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
He received the Newcomer of the Year award at the 2016 South African Sports Awards. (sascoc.co.za, 28 Nov 2016)
He was named the 2016 Sportsman of the Year by Laerskool Constantiapark in Pretoria, South Africa. (Facebook page, 16 Jun 2017)
He was presented with the Best Athlete award at the 2016 IWAS U23 World Games in Prague, Czech Republic. (jumpingkids.org.za, 29 Jul 2016)
In 2015 he was named the Overall Sports Winner of the Year, Junior Athlete of the Year, and Most Developed Athlete of the Year by the Gauteng North Association for the Physically Impaired. (Facebook page, 16 Aug 2016)
In 2017 he became an ambassador for US television channel Cartoon Network's anti-bullying campaign 'Be a Buddy, Not a Bully'. (goodthingsguy.com, 05 Jun 2017)
|Men's 200 m T42||Heat 2||2016-09-10||1|
|Men's 200 m T42||Final Round||2016-09-11||2|
|Men's 100 m T42||Heat 2||2016-09-14||3|
|Men's 100 m T42||Final Round||2016-09-15||5|
|Men's 200 m T42||Final 1||2017-07-15||2|
|Men's 100 m T42||Heat 1||2017-07-17||10|