Triathlete heads for Bahrain to raise funds for children’s foundation
Nelson Mandela Bay triathlete Luvuyo Bangazi will take part in the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain next Saturday, in a bid to raise funds for the Smile Foundation.
Mandela Bay Development Agency spokesman Bangazi will be jetting off to Bahrain shortly and says he is fit and well prepared for the race.
He has completed three full Ironman and 70.3 races in Nelson Mandela Bay and East London since 2014.
“Smile Foundation represents everything I stand for,” he said.
“I love kids. It breaks me to know some might never be able to be just kids, to laugh and smile like my two little angels – unless we all do our bit to change their lives.
“I decided to do a little search for a cause I’d be driven to pursue, something that rings true with me, and I found that in Smile Foundation SA.
“The foundation has a dedicated Ironman team that is growing every year.
“Athletes join the foundation to raise awareness and much-needed funds to finance facial reconstructive surgery for children who would never be able to do so by themselves.”
Bangazi said the fundraiser started in July and had been going smoothly in terms of raising funds and spreading the word.
Bangazi, 40, a father of two girls, has not always been an athlete.
In 2011, he was advised by his doctor to either shape up or face weight-related chronic conditions. He then got into athletics.
“I decided to grab at anything that would help me shed kilos and be healthy again.
“I stumbled into triathlon, doing the bike and run legs of the Corporate Triathlon in 2012.”
He has been preparing for the event for five months and will put his training to the test next Saturday.
Trained by Ironman legend Raynard Tissink in preparation for this race, he will need all the skill and endurance he can muster in Bahrain.
“The Middle East is typically hot and humid, with gusty winds at times,” Bangazi said.
“Luckily for me, December is winter, even though temperatures hover around 23°C.
“I call on Nelson Mandela Bay residents to support the efforts of the Smile Foundation Ironman team.
“Donations of any amount are welcome.
To donate, log onto givengain.com/ap/LuvuyoBangazi