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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I want to be the reason why there's a change in this world' - Ramokgopa to headline Curro Podium Meet

At just 16 years old, Tumi Ramokgopa is already one of South Africa's top athletes. The Grade 11 learner at Prestige College had a 2023 to remember. She won gold in the 400m hurdles at the South African U18 Championships, the African U18 400m and 100m hurdles titles and then picked up a pair of bronze medals in the 400m and 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. Reflecting on last season Ramokgopa says she was surprised at how quickly it all happened.

"It was actually exciting and shocking. It really wasn't something I was expecting as yet, but sometimes when God gives you something you don't reject it. So I accepted what God gave me and took it with passion. I told myself I'm going there to dominate and I'm doing what I can. No matter the age, no matter my opposition and how people look, I still aim to dominate. I was grateful to do what I did," she told #TheTopRunner.

Ramokgopa in action. Photo Credit: Cecilia van Bers.

2023 also saw Ramokgopa compete against the seniors for the first time. Then only 15 years old, the athlete who is coached by George Bradley broke 59 seconds for the first time last April when she claimed sixth place at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) Senior Track and Field Championships in a time of 58.98. Three weeks later she took part in an ASA Grand Prix series where she produced a personal best 58.69.

"Running against the seniors was tough. It actually strengthened my mentality because I had be aware of how I feel when people are in front of me. So it was actually a good experience and I mainly went there to get a good time. I might go there again this year if the season allows and if my time is good we are looking at the African seniors (All Africa Games)," she shared.

Ramokgopa poses with the pair of bronze medals she won at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August, 2023. Photo Credit: SASCOC Media.

That undeniable talent coupled with a fearless mentality have made the young lady from Kempton Park one of the most sought after school athletes in the country. But before committing to fultime competition in the senior ranks, this top runner who turns 17 in August says the main aim for 2024 is to perform well at the World Athletics U20 Championships which take place in the Peruvian city of Lima in August.

"It actually boost my confidence a lot to compete against U20's. Taking on the seniors already did, but this is another boost. It will help me a lot. The hurdles is my ride or die. I have a lot of dreams. I want to be an influence to every little girl or boy that wants to be at the top. I want to be the reason why there's a change in this world."

Ramokgopa and a host of other school athletics stars will be in action at the Curro Podium Grand Finale Meet at the Pilditch Stadium tomorrow (Saturday 17 February). She is expected to go in both the 100m and 400m hurdles. Catch all the action on SuperSport channel 216 or on the SuperSport Schools App.

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