"Just keep on working hard and don't give up" - Fina Dube celebrates new PB
When most young athletes are asked to name a role model, many will call upon the name of a decorated performer whose list of accolades date back a decade. But Fina Dube sees things differently. When asked who she admires, the 21-year-old from Springs says she was inspired by fellow 800m athlete Athing Mu's breathtaking run that saw the 19-year-old set a new American and North American record (1:55.21) in one pulsating two lap race during last year's Olympic final.
"She really inspires me. She was a junior last year and she won the Olympics with a PB," said Dube when asked to name her idol. "She's young and nothing is stopping her and she's now even aiming for Caster Semenya's Olympic record." That thinking betrays the dream of an athlete whose main goal is to make a life for herself and become a full time professional runner competing in top global athletics meets such as the Diamond League.
You see Fina grew up in Kwa-Thema, a township east of Johannesburg on the outskirts of the Ekurhuleni mining town of Springs. The now 400m and 800m athlete started as a sprinter in primary school whose talent earned her an athletics scholarship t the Vorentoe High School in Johannesburg where she came under the guidance of coach Hans Saestad. Having worked with the likes of Lebo and Lebogang Phalula a generation before, Oom Hans and his team of coaches introduced Dube to the 800m and she has never looked back.
"Once my coach told me to try 800m and 400m events and it came out that I was good at it. I was actually good at 800m so that's where I stayed. As I ran I 800m more and more, I said to myself why not stay here and see what more I can do. So that's what I am still doing at the moment," explained Dube who counts as her biggest achievement qualifying for the SA Senior Track and Field Championships as a fifteen year old back in 2016 when she ran 2:08.89 to finish fourth behind Caster Semenya at the Germiston Stadium.
That performance opened the gate to a fledgling career that is beginning to take off. Last month alone the Murray and Roberts Running Club athlete set two personal bests over 400m (56.02) at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships and 800m (2:08.26) at the at the Cape Milers Club 1609 Invitational. the future is certainly bright for the young lady from eThema who believes that even more young girls should take up the sport of athletics.
"Do not give up," is her advice to young girls who want to follow her running path. "Always have something that you look forward to even when things are to going the way you want them to be. One day you are going to get where you want to be, just keep on looking up and working hard and that will pay off," she concluded.