Cape Town - Fifteen quick questions with newly-crowned SA women's 100m champion Tebogo Mamatu.
1. Tell us about Tebogo Mamatu?
I live in Hatfield, Pretoria but was born and raised
in Dobsonville, Soweto. I turn 24 on May 27 and attended
Hoërskool Monument in Krugersdorp before graduating from Tuks (Pretoria
University) with a BSport Science degree. I definitely do see myself studying
further, but for now all my energy and focus is on being a professional
2. How does it feel to be crowned 100m champ?
It’s truly amazing. I feel totally happy and
grateful. Being crowned SA 100m champ was one of the goals I set for 2019, and I’m
very excited for this season as there is more to come.
3. Tell us about Hennie Kriel and his Grigora training
Working with legendary coach
Hennie Kriel is truly a blessing which I’m grateful for every day. I remember
seeing this athletics coach wearing suits every day during training sessions, like
he was a professor and I longed to become part of the group. So being part of
Grigora is super amazing. I enjoy training with the best of SA’s sprinters as
it’s a confidence booster for me knowing that I’m at the right place with the
right people. Coach cares so much about helping us to be the best athletes and
people in life. He is like a father figure to me. He is so motivating and has
big plans for each individual and goals for the training group.
4. The importance of training with athletes like Thando
Training alongside Thando is
the best as he is an inspiration. Before I joined Grigora there was a lot I
still had to learn about athletics, and Thando has taught me the importance of
hard work, perseverance and patience. Wenda Nel is also in the training group,
and I truly respect her work ethic.
5. What do you love most about athletics?
It gives me opportunities to meet and network with
different people and travel the world. I love how I get to challenge myself not
only physically, but mentally. Then there are all the emotions that come when
you’re doing well, but also the fighting spirit when you’re not doing well. The
confidence and belief I have in my coach, my training programme and my support
structure in helping me to reach my goals gives me great hope and love for the
6. When did you realise you were fast and could make
athletics your focus?
I’ve been an athlete my
whole life and have been the fastest female sprinter since my primary school days.
When I was offered a bursary to study at my high school, I thought if I could
get a bursary because of my athletics, then I should focus and take my
athletics seriously because it could mean I’m great at this. Ever since I’ve
been striving to be the fastest South African female sprinter and one of the
best in the world.
Which is your favourite event?
I love the 100m because it’s quick and straight; there’s no time to think
how to execute, you just trust in the preparation and the process.
8. In the 100m semi-finals at the Africa Champs in August
2018, you came second to Marie Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, how was that?
Ta Lou is a great sprinter and running with her was fun.
I’ve also competed with the likes of Murielle Ahoure, Carina Horn, Simone Facey
and Kerron Stewart. It’s a truly great and humbling experience, because when
competing with them I can see myself as a sub 11 athlete (Ha! Ha! Ha!). The
European Circuit is also great because you get to meet and compete with the
best in the world. It is an opportunity to make your mark.
9. What shoes do you run in?
I warm up in the PUMA Speed 600 and compete in Puma spikes. I truly love
both pairs of shoes, because they are so comfortable.
10. Diet is key for athletes, but do you have any
Yes. Ice-cream. I can be disciplined and go
without it, but I enjoy ice-cream a lot.
How do you cope with disappointing performances?
I have had challenges and disappointments and the truth is it’s never
easy. But I remind myself that to reach the most beautiful destinations I need
to go through stormy days and bumpy roads. I tell myself to keep focus and
control what I can control.
12. Best advice you ever heard, or words of inspiration
you live by?
Accept responsibility for
your life and know that is you who will get you where you want to go, no one
13. What words of
advice do you have for young track athletes?
My advice to up and coming athletes in SA is that
they should set goals for themselves and find ways to implement them. A dream
without setting goals and finding ways to make it happen is just a dream.
Believe and trust in your coach and training. Never, never ever give up.
14. Looking ahead into 2020?
For 2019 it’s to qualify for the World Champs in Doha and to run my first
sub 11 seconds 100m. For 2020 it’s to make the Olympic team for Tokyo and to improve
15. You are active on social media, what kind of content
do you share with your followers?
Ha! Ha! Ha! social media hey. Well, I don’t post much, but what I do post
it is mostly about my athletics journey and just trying to inspire the next
generation through sport.