Despite being born with only six fingers, one kidney and hearing in one ear, Nabeel Odendaal, 18, has not let this stop him from achieving gold medals in javelin, shot put and discus over the years.
The Grade 12 pupil from Northlink College was born with Vater Syndrome, a range of birth defects which affects the kidneys, the vertebrae and the trachea.
Nabeel grew up in Tafelsig and says despite being teased by other children, his family kept him grounded while he found solace in sports.
“I have five siblings and a family who is always there for me. I have been playing sports since I attended the Astra School when I was small, but I didn’t know what I was good at,” he says.
“In 2015, my coach Zain Lamara helped me identify what I was good at.”
Since then, Nabeel has competed in the championships each year and won gold medals in javelin, shot put and discus in his age group.
When the Daily Voice visited Nabeel this week, his proud mom Fatima, 54, could not wait to show off his medals.
“This is not all, it’s not just javelin and shot put. He also has medals for gymnastics, athletics and even a certificate from Bellville Athletics Club,” she says.
This year, Nabeel has once again qualified and is set to compete at the championships in Bloemfontein from 29 March to 2 April.
Fatima says Nabeel works hard each day and leaves homes at 8am, often only returning after 8pm due to his rigorous training schedule.
However, she says the family cannot afford the R5000 it will cost to get him to the championships.
“He is very dedicated and he works very hard, but we cannot afford the money to send him because I am unemployed. He also needs equipment and the shoes are like R2000, but we don’t want him to be disappointed,” says the mom.
If you would like to assist Nabeel, call Fatima on 083 766 2405.