Exhausting training schedules, injuries and personal adversity – athletes seem to see it all.
But in between the moments where success seems to be too far to reach, stories of incredible achievement and extraordinary skill can be found.
We have selected five of our favourite stories of inspirational athletes who have gone for gold and pushed past their own limitations.
The benchwarmer who became a record breaker
Known out the octagon as Amanda Lino, this MMA fighter is a formidable assailant from round one and has attracted the respect of the fighting world through tenacity and dedication.
After a tragic accident, this gymnast found new life through wheelchair rugby
Jared McIntyre was introduced to wheelchair rugby just two months into rehabilitation after a tragic accident changed his life forever. Eager to infect other wheelchair-bound people with the drive to own their bodies, McIntyre started the Mustang Wheelchair Rugby Club in Bloemfontein and he hasn’t looked back since.
I am blind. But I still fight. South Africa’s first black MMA fighter
Three years after blindness had swallowed his life in the grips of a meningitis-induced coma, Ronald Dlamini reached the pinnacle of his sport, becoming the first black man to win an MMA championship.
Championing women’s rugby in the township
Thembani Ngubelanga looks on as bodies collide before him. The unforgiving dirt on which his u19 side practices is discouraging. But still more urgent is their need for strength apparatus. He feels it’s high time that South African women’s rugby gets taken seriously.
From neighborhood menace to nine-year-old African champion
Neil van der Vyver was three when he started wreaking havoc in his neighbourhood on a motorbike. Little did his neighbours know, the noise pollution they tolerated for the sake of a child’s fun was in fact the beginning of a championship motocross career.