Mokgalagadi going to Qatar

2015-10-07 06:00
UNSUNG HERO: Tebogo Mokgalagadi will be representing South Africa in the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Qatar later this month.

UNSUNG HERO: Tebogo Mokgalagadi will be representing South Africa in the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Qatar later this month.

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THE Free State’s para-athlete Tebogo Mokgalagadi has described his inclusion in the South African team that will be competing in the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships as a blessing.

The event will held in Doha, Qatar, from 21 to 31 October.

Speaking to Express on Thursday (01/10), Mokgalagadi said he was happy to have such an opportunity to represent his country at this prestigious international event.

“Firstly, I would like to thank my Heavenly Father for the blessings that He has bestowed on me. It is through Jesus that my name is included in the team. I am really humbled by His grace,” said Mokgalagadi.

“It never crossed my mind that I would be selected to represent my country at the event.

“I am really glad that I have made the team. I have been working hard since the beginning of the year and my hard work has paid off. I am looking forward to the event. Hopefully I will fly the South African flag very high there,” he added.

The 28-year-old has always represented South Africa very well at international level.

He won a gold medal in the men’s 100 m during the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, and a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, also in the men’s 100 m.

Mokgalagadi was a member of Team South Africa when they competed in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he scooped up double gold in both the 100 m and 200 m events.

A year later, the Jagersfontein-born athlete won a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, England, also in the men’s 100 m.

Asked whether he would be under pressure to emulate Wayde van Niekerk’s achievement in the recent 2015 IAAF World Championships, who brought home a gold medal from the event, Mokgalagadi said: “Wayde had outdone himself in China. We are all happy for his achievement.

“It is our turn now to show the world what South African athletes are made of.”

Mokgalagadi is coached by Tshakile Nzimande, who is one of former top sprinters in the country.

In his heyday, Nzimande once finished a 100 m race in a time of 10.11 seconds.

“I enjoy working with Tshakile. He is a good mentor for me.

“Through his guidance I think I can achieve more accolades.” said Mokgalagadi.

Meanwhile, Sascoc president, Gideon Noge, wished Team South Africa well for the event.

“As we near our journey to the 2016 Paralympics, this is a crucial opportunity for all athletes to prove themselves through yet more excellent performances, like we have come to expect over the years from our para-athletes,” Noge said.

The full Team SA squad:

Women: Anrune Liebenberg, Chenelle van Zyl, Ilse Carstens, Zanele Situ, Louzanne Coetzee, Juanelie Meijer, Johanna Pretorius and Rouxne Vermaak (Guide)

Men: Arnu Fourie, Andrea Dalle Ave, Charl du Toit, Dyan Buis, Tebogo Mokgalagadi, Hilton Langenhoven, Jonathan Ntutu, Reinhardt Hamman, Fanie van der Merwe, Union Sekailwe, Tyrone Pillay, Gerrit Kruger, Mpumelelo Mhlongo, Lean Simon and Jan van Staden

Officials: Karin le Roux, Suzanne Ferreira, Daniel Damon, Raymond Julius and Neels Matthyser

Medical Team:

Evah Ramashala and Given Baloyi

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