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  • Writer's pictureCharles Baloyi

Dlodlo says move to Tuks has him dreaming of an Olympic medal

SA sprinter Thando Dlodlo described his move to the University of Pretoria as a breath of fresh air. The 100m and 200m specialist has swapped Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) for Athletics Gauteng North (AGN), as he joins a talented training group including such big names as Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai and Luxolo Adams. The former junior champion joined the Tuks athletics family at the beginning of January, under the watchful eye of national 4 x 100m coach Paul Gorries who is himself a former 200m world junior champion.

Dlodlo who lives in the university clubhouse and trains at the Tuks High-Performance Centre, says his move from Krugersdorp to Tshwane is a second chance after being plagued by injury last year. "I am in good hands at Tuks. I am happy and feel healthy. I joined Tuks athletics at the beginning of the month, and training is going well. I feel that I am on the right track and in safe hands. I had a couple of options to choose from, but I chose Tuks," said an excited Dlodlo.

Thando Dlodlo in action at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

The bubbly sprinter has already attended a training camp with his Tuks teammates, which took place in Cape Town in December. "The training camp went well, we had lots of fun and worked on several things. I am excited to be on board," he told #TheTopRunner. Dlodlo is also hoping that his relocation to arguably the best running school in the country will help him to get ready for the Olympic Games.

He said the postponement of The Games due to the Covid-19 pandemic came as a blessing in disguise. The original date for the Olympics was July 2020, but was postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Tokyo 2021 will now kick off in July 2021. The African Championships 4 x 100m bronze medalist has already had a taste of what it feels like to wear the green and gold at a major championships. He represented South Africa at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Dlodlo with the rest of the SA 4 x 100m relay team at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

Although the 21-year old admits that he battled with nerves in Qatar, he feels that he will be better at the Olympics because of the support he is already receiving in the nation's capital. "I struggled with injuries and confidence last year. But I won't worry about Tokyo as I work with a great team at Tuks. I want to compete in the SA senior champs in April, maybe Varsity athletics if it will happen and then go to Europe. European races are happening regardless, and I am not sure if we will have too many races in SA," he said.

He hopes that the Olympics will happen this year and that the 4x100m relay would bring back a medal. All eyes will be on the relay team, and the pressure is already on them. But Dlodlo believes they can secure a podium finish at the Games. "With relay, I don't doubt that we will win a medal. We have some of the top sprinters in the country at Tuks. I like the team spirit at Tuks. We have a strong bond, and the chemistry is on another level," explained Dlodlo.

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