"I am a competitive and dedicated triathlete and cyclist who lives for winning. Guts and determination are two qualities I prize most. And coming second is not acceptable!" Oswald Kydd. World triathlon champion. Aka Kamikaze.
I have fallen down over 120 times. I got up 120 times. I have lost more than 58 races. I have missed the podium position 3 times. I have won silver 8 times.
That is why I succeed!
Raised by hard-working parents, I was born to never give up. A natural runner, I began competing as a young child. I was Captain for my school’s cross country and received full colours for both Athletics and cross country.
After school, I began cycling and found that not only did I love it, but had a natural talent for it. I would commute to work and back every day, clocking up to 70kms per day and would join the Club ride on the weekends and enjoy over 120kms. I once rode to Magaliesburg and back on a whim. This was just riding for fun!
Then I entered the Tour of Zimbabwe and got my first taste of competition and found I had real talent and endurance. From that day, I began my career in “licensed” cycling.
I went on to represent KZN and South Africa by winning bronze at SA Time Trial Champs. I earned my provincial colours that year!
However, at 29, my right leg was amputated above the knee after a truck ran over me. I spent 6 weeks in hospital coming to terms with my fate.
6 months later, I was back on my bike with a determined spirit and positive attitude. I could not balance well. I would fall often and get angry with myself and the world.
But I was determined to ride. So, I picked myself up, dusted off the tar and kept riding.
I was invited to represent South Africa in Germany at the World Cycling Championships for the physically disabled. I crashed within the first 5 minutes and broke my wrist.
This did not deter me. I kept pedaling day after day and eventually got stronger and stronger.
Now was the time for an even harder challenge. I wanted to go further, try new things. So, I joined the world of Triathlon.
My very first triathlon saw me running for 5 kms on crutches. I was hooked.
I was not only happy to do sprint triathlons, I wanted to do more! Ironman!
I befriended one of the referees who was chief referee for IRONMAN and I said to him I would like to do Ironman sometime. He phoned me to say that he has spoken to the organisers and that they were prepared to sponsor my entry to participate at the next event in 2006. I managed to do some swimming leading up to the event over the next 3 months. Luckily for me I was able to use a racing wheelchair for the run in accordance with the rules of IM. For the 2 weeks prior to the IM I didn’t swim or ‘run’ at all. At the start line it was my first time using a wetsuit.
I did a 13:07 time.
I went on to do another 2 IM’s in 2007 and 2010. I achieved times of 12.24 and 10.56 respectively – thereby beating my time each race!
By 2010, I was provincial, National Champ and several modifications were made to TSA High Performance Programme criteria and in so doing I was selected to represent SA at World Tri Champs in Budapest, Hungary. Needless to say it was a learning curve for all involved. I managed to race to a 3rd place that year. Fuelling my need to push harder.
In 2011, with help and support from some special people I got to Beijing China for World Champs in good shape for racing. I came out the water not too far behind the leaders and by the time I covered 3 km of my 20km leg I was in the lead. By the time I was finished the cycle I was almost 3 minutes ahead. And on the run I was doing an average of 4:30 per km. In so doing, almost lapping the 2nd and 3rd place guys and finishing nearly 5 min ahead.
In 2012 & 2013 I had some mishaps on the course and only managed a fourth place in both events, missing podium by a few seconds.
Despite these setbacks, I never stopped once.
Many people ask me “What keeps me motivated?” “What keeps me pushing myself to new heights?”
I simply say “Because I can!”
Currently, I am in training to improve on these results and with better planning and a few tweaks it will be possible. Currently this involves racing my races and long rides without the prosthetic limb during the ride. I see results coming in with my idea in that I raced 94.7 in 2:34, without my prosthetic limb. Much to the disappointment of many able-bodied cyclists.
To be able to race at a sufficiently high enough level, I need to train consistently to see results. I work an 8 hour day, standing on my leg all day. Despite an aching back, I use my commute to work and back as part of my training, and I have to supplement it with early morning swimming training, running or long rides before work. Weekends are spent doing long rides or racing.
I don’t have the benefit of dedicated sponsors, so prosthetics, transport, travel, nutrition and equipment have to be provided by myself and a few kind friends.
There is no room for excuses or victim mentality – that will only weigh you down. So, I pick myself up each day and keep going.
My dream is to race in the Paralympics Triathlon in Brazil in 2016. And I will because
I CLEAR MY MIND OF CAN’T