“I’m feeling awesome,” says 21-year-old Imizamo Yethu runner Crossnage Toto, who won one gold and two silver medals at the South African Sport Association for the Physically Disabled national championships in Johannesburg earlier this month.
He took silver in two 100m events and gold in the 200m.
“I was so looking forward to it,” he said. “I prepared as best as possible, trained well and I knew I was feeling good before the championships.”
Toto is slowly losing his eyesight after doctors diagnosed him with retinal detachment in both eyes, and before he could compete, he had to raise the money he needed for his tracksuit and kit, transport and accommodation at the championships (“Disabled IY sprinter needs help to get to champs,” Sentinel News, February 25).
The public came to his aid after hearing of his plight, and he was able to raise R7000.
One donor, who contacted Sentinel News last week and only identified herself as Rachel, said she was delighted to see how well Toto had done at the championships.
“When I first read this story, I thought this kid has already such a huge battle in trying to keep his eyesight, but that doesn’t faze him, and he was determined to do well at these championships.”
She said that after sending her donation she had hoped to see him do well on the track and so had been thrilled to hear he had made the podium three times.
“It is really so uplifting and motivating. A few weeks ago, he wasn’t sure how he was going to get there, but then Hout Bay showed why we are such a close-knit community and how we rally behind each other.”
Toto said: “The fact that I had the opportunity to represent Hout Bay, as well as the Western Cape, was a really great feeling. Even though it wasn’t easy competing with other province’s and countries in Africa, I’ve come back with one gold medal and two silver after the competition. With these achievements, I’ve made my family, friends, and fellow peers proud.”