Blog: MalcolmP

1996 Atlanta Paralympics

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Questions and Answers with Malcolm Pringle on his first Paralympic experience

How did your running career all begin?
Well at the age of three I won my school obstacle course and from then on nothing could hold me back when I had a pair of running shoes on.

What is it like having a disability? And how do you feel when you’re out on the track?
When I’m running all the troubles of life disappear, in fact the whole world disappears – it’s like I’m on a different planet – I’m unstoppable / untouchable in that moment. I have a strong motivation to be the best when I’m on the track or road. I have a desire to be number 1. When someone overtakes me I feel that I’m not good enough and that spurs me on to go faster. When I’m in a road race I always have the group in front of me in my sights and as soon as I catch them I’m looking ahead to the next group. I’m constantly telling my coach let’s catch the next group. I have learnt over the years and understand pacing myself, which is going to be crucial for my new discipline of Triathlon – so everyone better watch out, here I come!

How were you chosen to compete in the Paralympics?
I won the South African Championships in Port Elizabeth in the 800m with a time of (2:10.20) and was then chosen to compete in the Paralympics.

Describe your first Paralympics in 1996 at Atlanta?
It was overwhelming as I didn’t know what to expect. I went from a nobody to a world record holder in the 800m (2:06.78) as well as 2 silver medals in the 1500m and 400m.

Seeing the Paralympic flame from my hotel room was very motivating and something I will hopefully see at the Rio Paralympic games in 2016.

It was also a great honour to be chosen to carry the South African flag at the closing ceremony.

What was it like when you returned home from Atlanta?
It was incredible to see the overwhelming support at the airport and to be able to be an inspiration to so many people.

What was your goal after Atlanta 1996?
My goal was to win a gold medal at the World Championships in Burmingham, England. I ended up winning 2 golds and a silver medal.

You have been working at Pick ‘n Pay for a long time now – how have they helped you with this journey?
I have been there for 16 years and they are like my family. They have given me time off to compete and help with much needed funding towards various events. Sponsorship is still greatly needed to compete in these events.