Monday, 16 March 2009

Fairytale win for SA's fastest

Who is Simon Magakwe? Nobody has ever heard of him but this past weekend he was crowned South Africa's fastest man at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in Stellenbosch. He won the 100m event in 10,21 seconds.

What's more remarkable though, is his story.

This athlete comes from a very poor background and his main source of income is taking photos for ID books. He had no money for running shoes but Olympic medalist Hezekiel Sepeng heard about his problem and gave him a pair three years ago. Magakwe still runs in those same shoes to this day.

He arrived at the track this weekend without a sports bag, but with his clothes in a plastic bag. He didn't have the funds to pay for accommodation in Stellenbosch and the mayor of Carletonville (Magakwe's hometown) decided to pay for it, after learning of his situation.

Simon first won the 100m in a moderate 10,32s but after the race the judges upheld a false start objection and the race was to be run again. Everyone expected the time to be slower since there was not much time for recovery but to everyone's surprise, the 22-year old won again, but this time in 10,21s, the 9th fastest time in SA history and also the fastest time for the event in almost ten years. With this time he qualified for the World Championship to be held in Berlin.

Well done Simon! I'm guessing you'll be issued with a proper sports bag by a sponsor for your next event.


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