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 Disabled Athlete a true inspiration and example to all

Mr Ezzard Johnson, who has been an employee of Air Force Base Ysterplaat for over twenty (20) years, has through hard work and dedication shown that a will to achieve and positive thinking can lead to great accomplishments.

Mr Johnson was diagnosed with an illness which left him basically paralysed as a child. His family was advised to have him partake in physical activities to strengthen his muscles, all of which will assist him to function in a fair manner as a child. In primary school he participated in sports such as rugby but a big fire was lit when he started partaking in road running at the age of 25. Mr Johnson participated in various road races and this ultimately led him to cross paths with Mr Willian Moses of Ravensmead, a sports coach for many years. Mr Moses noticed how dedicated Mr Johnson was with his training. He trained regardless of changing weather conditions. Not even rain could deter Mr Johnson from training and being successful in that which he loves so much running. Mr Johnson was included in the fitness programme presented by Mr Moses. In 2006, he started training for various athletic events such as the 800m, 1500m and 5000m. He only trained on grass believing that this enhances his performance when he has to compete on track.

Mr Johnson registered at the Unitie Athletics Club in 2006 and participated in various athletic events. He was selected for the Western Province Athletics Team for Disabled Athletes and had to prove his worth at the South African Championships for Disabled Athletes which was held in Stellenbosh in March this year. He participated in the 800m and 5000m events respectively and performed exceptionally well. He obtained a bronze medal for the 800m T36 division with a time of 2:54:73. His best performance of the day was his gold medal achievement in the 5000m T36 division where he had a remarkable time of 20:45:19 and was responsible for setting a new South African Record.

Mr Johnson has proved that will and dedication to perform can lead one to great heights. Even though a number of people did not anticipate him performing so well, it was never his aim to prove them wrong, but rather to perform well for himself. He believes that prayer was all he needed and therefore prayed for strength every day. Mr Johnson is the first one to say that he was not afraid when participating at the championships because he believed in God and knew that he trained very hard.

The South African Air Force Benevolent Fund contributed towards the fees necessary for Mr Johnson to participate at the SA Championships. Most definitely money well spent.

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