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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I would like to thank them for seeing me' - Sponsors line up for Comrades champion Tete Dijana

After winning the first Comrades Marathon since 2019, Tete Dijana is being rewarded for the years of sacrifice. The man who works as a security guard at The North-West University took a leap of faith when he applied for unpaid leave in order to train for the 90km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Sacrificing what little income he had been receiving for those three months, the Nedbank Running Club athlete moved to live with his coach Dave Adams in Rustenburg and then threw himself into training. His determination was rewarded with a maiden Comrades victory.


"If you want something you should go for it," he told #TheTopRunner. "I told myself that I would go all out and I believed that I could do it. I was aiming for a top ten finish - not for winning Comrades. So winning the race was a bonus for me." And now that he has won The Ultimate Human race, the sacrifices are proving worth it as sponsors get in line to be associated with the man whose story of triumph against the odds has captured the imagination of the South African public.


Dijana training with his new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Photo Credit: MWMedia.

The latest to be inspired by the 34-year-old's feat is Samsung. The global telecommunications technology giant has signed him up to promote their latest piece of wearable tech. Dijana is Samsung's new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro partner whose experience in training for long hours at the highest level of ultra-distance running, makes him just the right person to share the features of the Watch 5 Pro with the running community at large.


"I was interviewed by one of the radio stations where the presenter asked me if I would be happy for someone to sponsor me with anything. I said yes and within a week I got a message that Samsung wanted me. They gave me a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra phone, ear buds as well as the Watch 5 Pro. It is GPS enabled, has a heart-rate monitor and you can even listen to music while training. What I love about it is that the battery lasts long and the Watch 5 communicates with me about my pacing through the buds," he explained.


Dijana at Samsung HQ in Bryanston Johannesburg after being signed on as their new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Partner. Photo Credit: Nedbank Running Club.

The man who ran toe-to-toe with 2019 champion and Nedbank teammate Edward Mothibi before running away to win the race, pocketed more than R700 000 in prize money and bonuses from various sources including his employer (Mi7 National Group) and the North West Department of Sport. But as happy as he is with the material gifts that he has received as a result of winning the world's most celebrated ultramarathon, the diminutive Dijana is more grateful that he is finally being recognized.


"I would like to thank them for seeing me and appreciating what I am doing because it's not everyone who gets this. We athletes, we struggle a lot. For example there's a point where you will go to a race not having any food or not having money for the registration fee, but you'll go there anyway. Those kind of things remind you that you have worked hard and finally you have arrived at your goal," he shared.

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