Amawhee­laboy takes first steps

CityPress - - Sport - RE­ABETSWE MASHIGO re­abetswe.mashigo@city­

Shane Wil­liams, a 22-year-old na­tional wheel­chair bas­ket­ball star, has been given the op­por­tu­nity to walk for the first time.

The Mitchells Plain-born Wil­liams had both his legs am­pu­tated due to a se­vere case of menin­gi­tis when he was one year old.

Get­ting pros­thetic legs for the ath­lete was not an easy task due to the se­vere na­ture of his am­pu­ta­tion, which was done above the knees. How­ever, his dream of gain­ing more mo­bil­ity was re­alised thanks to spon­sors Sa­sol and Jump­ing Kids, who to­gether paid for his legs.

Ex­press­ing how his dis­abil­ity made him feel, Wil­liams said: “Grow­ing up with­out legs was nor­mal for me be­cause they were re­moved so early in my life and it was the only way I knew of liv­ing – so I wasn’t sad.”

Wil­liams’ wheel­chair bas­ket­ball jour­ney started in 2006 when a few of his friends at school asked him to join them – and it was only then that he re­alised he wanted to take up the sport pro­fes­sion­ally.

The ath­lete could not hold back his ex­cite­ment when he ex­pressed how thrilled he was to walk for the first time in his life.

“It’s amaz­ing be­cause it makes things so much eas­ier to reach and I can go to places I pre­vi­ously couldn’t with a wheel­chair. I’m truly grate­ful,” he said.

Wil­liams wants to even­tu­ally play wheel­chair bas­ket­ball pro­fes­sion­ally in Europe and com­pete with world-class play­ers.

The ath­lete said he wanted kids with the same con­di­tion to never lose hope in their dreams and added that the sky was the limit.

“Kids with dis­abil­i­ties need to un­der­stand that any­thing is pos­si­ble and they can achieve more than able-bod­ied peo­ple if they put their minds to it,” he said.

The wheel­chair bas­ket­ball player’s short-term plan is get­ting back into the 12-man Amawhee­laboys na­tional squad, and he says he will be putting in the ex­tra hours of train­ing to im­press the coach and prove that he be­longs in the team.

EX­CITED Shane Wil­liams’ mum sees him walk­ing for the first time on his new pros­thetic legs

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