Despite an early childhood trauma that lost him a leg, Puseletso Mabote is breaking word records in our para athletics team

Even a tragic accident couldn’t throw this record-breaking athlete off track

Despite an early childhood trauma that lost him a leg, Puseletso Mabote is breaking world records.

Beautiful News

Puseletso Mabote bows his head and braces himself. His breath is measured but his determination is at full blast. Competing in the World Para Athletics Junior Championships is a momentous opportunity. Sweat drips from the runner’s forehead. The gun fires and Mabote leaps into action. He bolts down the track, crossing the finishing line ahead of the others. It’s only after the adrenaline subsides that the 14-year-old realises the enormity of what he’s just accomplished. 

In 2019, Mabote set a world record in the Men’s 200m T45-64 class. But years ago, a tragic accident almost prevented him from running at all. When Mabote was five, a truck ran over him, resulting in the amputation of his right leg. “First I felt sad, ashamed,” he says. “But all that changed.” With the donation of a prosthetic from the Jumping Kids Prosthetics Fund, Mabote gained a new spring in his step and developed an interest in athletics. 

Since then, he’s represented South Africa at the 2017 and 2019 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports World Games. Competing with able-bodied athletes at home, Mabote is uninhibited. “If I hadn’t lost my leg, I wouldn’t have become a champion,” he says. Now, Mabote hopes to become a Paralympian and inspire others like himself. “Use your challenges to make you stronger until you get unbeatable,” he says. 

Meet the athlete who set a world record with only one leg:

IMAGE: Beautiful News

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Article courtesy of Beautiful News

Photos by Andries Kruger were used in the creation of this film.

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