Being born with Down syndrome has not stopped Polokwane’s Mahlodi Nkadimeng from taking her participation in table tennis to international level, representing her country in the world championships in Portugal and Italy as well as at the first World Table Tennis Championships in South Africa during 2015.
Mahlodi, now aged 25, attended New Horizon School for Specialised Education from the age of seven and left the school when she reached 21. She, however, still reports at the school for training by her former educator, Lizzie Vogel.
Mahlodi has taken part in table tennis at national level since 2012 and soon became a number one player receiving medals at every national competition in which she participated. In 2012 she was the only female South African player that was invited to the International Table Tennis Championships in Portugal where she ended in third position, receiving a bronze medal. In 2015 she was the number one player for the National Table Tennis Team at the World Championships for people with Down syndrome in South Africa and ended in third position in the singles and as winner in the womens’ doubles. The year 2016 was no exception and she was the number one player of the National Table Tennis Team at the first Trisome Games (Olympic Games for People with Down syndrome) in Italy, where she came third in the doubles and also third in the team events.
During October last year, Mahlodi was the number one player for the National Table Tennis Team taking part in the Table Tennis World Championships for People with Down syndrome in Madeira. She managed to play in the women’s’ singles semi-finals.
She represented Limpopo at the National Championships in Gauteng during March, 2018.
Mahlodi’s mother, Maggie says that Mahlodi’s participation in sport made her a more mature person. “She engages very well with other children and always takes care of those in need. She has a passion for the younger ones and never despairs or loses her temper. She is also a member of the St Mary’s Girls at Seshego Anglican Church and has a great attitude,” Maggie says.
“With her determination and willingness to improve, Mahlodi still has many years to do sport. She is a strong minded lady with a pure character,” Vogel reckons.
Story/photo: BARRY VILJOEN