‘It’s all still sinking in’ – Wayde’s mom

2016-08-15 19:08
Odessa Swarts, Wayde van Niekerk's mom.

Odessa Swarts, Wayde van Niekerk's mom.

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WATCH: Reaction from kids at Wayde van Niekerk's former school

2016-08-15 11:44

Watch learners at Bellville Primary, Wayde van Niekerk's alma mater, react to his 400m gold medal-winning feat. WATCH

Cape Town - Wayde van Niekerk's mother Odessa Swarts says she has no words to describe the record-breaking achievements of her son on Sunday evening.

Speaking to News24 on Monday via phone from Rio de Janeiro, Odessa said it was a moment she would remember for the rest of her life.

"It's all still sinking in. I can't describe how I'm feeling. It's just something you can't explain," she said giddily.

"This is something that’s going to last a lifetime. It's not every day that a South African goes out and breaks a world record.

"And I suspect it's not just my proudest moment, but the whole of South Africa's proudest moment."

Wayde's mom, dad and stepdad woke up to a relatively quieter Monday morning in Brazil following Wayde's Olympian efforts the previous night.

Grandparents, siblings and his girlfriend were also there to watch him break the men's 400m world record on Sunday evening in 43.03 seconds, and claim the nation's first gold of Rio 2016.

Laughter could be heard in the background as she spoke over the phone.

'Ecstatic, superlative'

Steven Swarts, Wayde's stepfather, told News24 that South Africa's new world record holder was still sleeping at the time of the call.

"We are super excited," he said.

"There are 10 of us here, and now we've got a record holder here with us, and he's currently knocked out here at the apartment, but we are all super excited."

"It was quiet this morning when we woke up and were having breakfast, and I actually asked some of them if they realise what Wayde achieved last night."

Steven said there was one word to describe Sunday night.

"I'm ecstatic. There is one word that could possibly describe the situation and that is: superlative."

Steven has been in Wayde's life for the past 14 years, since he was 10-years-old.

Wayde's biological father, Wayne, was also in Rio with the family, as well as his sister Kayla, his grandparents Wathen, Sophia and Margaret, and his girlfriend Chesney.

Both dads got to share Sunday with him, which was Fathers' Day in Brazil.

'It was in God's hands either way'

Proud father Wayne said nobody was expecting Wayde to claim the gold in such emphatic fashion.

"No, no, we didn't know," he said.

"A couple of hours before the race we just prayed, so that wasn’t something we actually thought about."

In their day, both Wayne and Odessa were athletes in their own right, competing regionally during sports isolation in the apartheid era.

Odessa was a champion sprinter, while Wayne was a high jumper for Western Province.

At 15, Odessa won the 100m and 200m national championships, setting local records along the way.

- Read more here: How Wayde's mom blazed the trail for her son

Odessa has no hard feelings about not being able to compete internationally, however, saying it was never an option for athletes of colour at the time. She said she was glad the current generation, including her son, had the opportunity to do so.

She also said her son's faith played a huge role in his life.

"His faith is very strong. He wrote a little message on Twitter after his race.

"We know his trust and his faith was all in God's hand, even if that meant he won silver or bronze. He would have been just as happy.

"We know that God has planned his life and there is so much more awaiting him. And not just for him, but all South Africans."

Read more on:    wayde van niekerk  |  cape town

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