A giant leap for Malawian parasports athlete Taonere Banda

Taonera Banda

At a young age, Taonere Banda could not engage in sports like her friends due to her visual impairment but now she representing Malawi on the world stage at the Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Banda, 26, is the first Malawian middle-distance Paralympic athlete having shown that through determination and passion the teachings gained through sports reign true.

Her latest achievements will not go unnoticed for her countrymen and women as MultiChoice on Tuesday started broadcasting the live coverage of this years’ Summer Paralympics on SuperSport hosting live daily coverage of the games on two dedicated channels (SuperSport Variety 2 and 3) and daily highlights on SuperSport Blitz.

The Summer Paralympics started Tuesday, 24 August 2021 until 5 September 2021.

Paralympic Games are a major sports competition comparable to the Olympics with many of the same sports included, with modified equipment for athletes with disabilities.

"It is true that playing sports teaches lessons of life, such as teamwork, self-confidence, and self-discipline. Sports in school help prepare children to face the challenges of life. They enhance physical and mental abilities of students and help them achieve the goals of their life," Paralympic athlete Taonera Banda said.

In anterview done by the International Paralympic Committee, Banda was unable to begin sport earlier due to her visual impairment that she developed at six months old.

However in 2012 when her home district of Nkhotakota was visited by representatives of the Malawi Paralympic Committee, she was scouted to compete in regional and national championships.

When speaking about her beginnings as an athlete Banda said, "After being identified by the local institution, I was selected to participate at the stadium in Blantyre where athletes from 11 districts took part. I ran the 400m and 800m, and came first in both.”

Through her passion for running and consistency, Banda became the first athlete to represent Malawi at the Paralympic Games when she competed in the T13 1500m at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Simon Munde, Acting Executive Director for The Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) said: “There are a number of children with disabilities who are great at sport…the moment we start investing in schools we will see a growth in the representation of person with disabilities in Malawi”.

Munde said the coming in of Multichoice will make the sport accessible from a grassroots level which is vital in producing world class athletes for Malawi.