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  • Writer's pictureCharles Baloyi

Mogawane starts NPO to help athletes qualify for Olympic Games

Two-time Olympian Ofentse Mogawane is on a mission to raise half a million Rand to help struggling athletes qualify for the Olympic Games abroad. The retired 400m star turned businessman says his aim is to help 20 athletes pay for their accommodation and flights. And this ambitious target must all be achieved in the next five weeks before the SA Olympic qualification cutoff date in June.

The 39-year-old, who owns a second-hand car dealership, intends to crisscross South Africa from Pretoria to Polokwane and other parts of the country to identify struggling athletes that have the potential to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July. Mogawane already sponsors two prominent 400m stars based in Tshwane with R3000 monthly. However, he feels that is not enough and he would like to do more to assist athletes to achieve their dreams.

Mogawane during his running days. Here he is pictured in the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series at the Tuks Stadium in March 2018. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

“I have started an initiative to get donations from individuals, companies, and business people to help me to assist athletes to travel overseas. This initiative is for those who have come close to run qualifying times and I believe that if they can be allowed to get to Europe then they can qualify. We are also targeting the athletes that have run slower times, we want to help them to further their studies in colleges across the country. We are willing to assist them with registration, books, and other materials so that they can get an education," Mogawane told #TheTopRunner.

The man who won a silver medal as part of SA's 4 x 400m relay team at the 2011 World Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games said he could not sit and do nothing while athletes are battling to qualify for the Olympics. So he has started a non-profit organization to try and help the needy to fulfil their dreams. “My wish is to see athletes getting an education and not rely on athletics only as their source of income. It costs about R30 000 to get to Europe and during these difficult times, it is not easy to raise that money. My objective is to take at least 20 athletes to travel to Europe. The costs involved are flights, accommodation, visas, and food. The donation of R20, 50, and R100 will go a long way towards making a difference in somebody's life," explained Mogawane.

Mogawane (front row second from right) with his training partners including Commonwealth Champion LJ van Zyl. Photo Credit: Ofentse Mogawane.

What bothers Mogawane is how some athletes idle after the athletics season. He wants to see them working and studying and so they don't have to rely on sport as their only source of income. "We are not only looking at getting them to race in Europe, but also focusing on assisting them with training gear, medication, and supplements to mention a few of the things that athletes need to succeed," he said.

Mogawane is calling on sponsors to come forward and help change the lives of the athletes. The 2010 SA champ is hoping to raise enough funds by May in time for the European season, which would enable athletes to go abroad (Covid19 travel regulations permitting) and qualify for the Olympic Games. “We are targeting R500 000, but we would be happy to surpass this target. I cannot do this by myself, I am asking for help to help these athletes," he added. To assist contact Mogawane on:

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