Sprinting to sporting history

2008-08-08 00:00

For the first time since South Africa started competing in the Olympic Games in 1904, a black female athlete will represent the country.

Twenty-two-year-old Tsholofelo Thipe from North West is the woman who will make history on the athletics track on August 15 when she competes in the 400 m sprint.

“I am very excited, but terribly nervous at the same time,” Thipe said.

She said there is a lot of pressure on her to perform, just because she has the honour of being South Africa’s first black female athlete at the games.

“The 400 metres is my favourite event. I promise to give it my all for South Africa,” she said.

Thipe believes her nerves will settle when the starter’s pistol sounds for the first time. She is disappointed, however, that her husband, Eugene Thipe, may not accompany her as her trainer.

“Eugene’s support means everything to me. He knows me better than I know myself. He has the knack of making me believe in myself before a race.”

Eugene says that as the first black trainer of an Olympic athlete, he is also under pressure. But he is more than proud of his wife for realising her Olympic dream. He says her next goal is to make it through to the finals.

“If Tsholofelo manages to do that, South Africans must make sure they watch the race. She may just surprise us.”

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