Obstacles Hinder PAC’s Comeback

Despite recovering from a dilapidating ailment that threatened to end his once fledgeling career, paraplegic athlete Frans Panduleni ‘Pac’ Paulus’ long awaited return to competitive action is being hampered by logistical obstructions.

He intends to get back on his bike during the 2015 Nedbank Challenge which will take place in Windhoek on 1 March but says he has little in the way of support and thus may be forced to put his plans on hold.

Pac spent over two years battling spinal tuberculosis following a historic 700km-plus journey from Oshakati to Windhoek on a specially adapted wheelchair. That epic effort was meant to raise awareness and the profile of disability sport in the country, an objective he achieved at the expense of his health.

“I need help. I don’t have a guide to help me through traffic so I can’t train on my bike as much as I want. The traffic is very hectic these days. I also don’t have finances to help me get the things I need to prepare myself for a competition, so I need support,” Paulus told The Namibian Sport telephonically from Oshakati earlier this week.

“I’ve tried contacting the people who promised to help me before I went into hospital but so far no-one is responding. I don’t know why they are all quiet now. I can’t do this without help. I really miss racing and just want to compete again,” he added.

Pac says he has been declared medically fit to return to competitive sport. He is keen on making up for lost time and joining the growing ranks of disabled sport stars making a name for themselves domestically and abroad.

“I feel g and want to start racing short distances until I get back to my top level. I want to start at the Nedbank Challenge and then go for tougher challenges after that. I still have the hunger to race, especially internationally for my country,” said the 33 year-old former pin-up boy of Namibian disability sport.

In a bid to attract sponsorships, Pac plans to resume training in Windhoek in the coming weeks.

“If I can hitch a ride to Windhoek with my bike then I will try to get connections with some people who can help me out. I’m starting from the beginning. It’s not easy but I have to try. I have a dream to be a world champion and I’m not giving up on it,” the indefatigable Paulus declared.

The Nedbank Cycle Challenge is the first major cycling competition of the year in the country and features 20km, 35 km, 75 km amp 100 km races.

Registration will be held on Saturday 28 February 2015 at the Mutual Tower building entrance in Independence Avenue.

Source : The Namibian