Mogawane worried about lack of development in SA Athletics says he's ready to be a coach
Almost forgotten Commonwealth Games 400m silver medalist Ofentse Mogawane may have retired but he does not want to be lost to the sport. The 39-year-old wants to hold talks with the Athletics Gauteng North bosses (AGN) to offer his coaching services. "In June I would like to start my coaching journey. I have my own money and do not want to do this for money. I know I talk a lot, but I want to make a difference in the sport," said Mogawane.
His last official race was a 300m event at the University of Pretoria a couple of years ago and since then he has started running his own second hand car business which he uses to put food on the table. "I am officially retired and I want to get involved in coaching now. I have so much knowledge to share and do not want to take it to the grave with me. I have a successful business of selling and buying cars, but I miss athletics. Despite the difficult times, people still buy cars a lot. It's a good business to earn a living," he told #TheTopRunner.
His brother Kefilwe Mogawane has followed in his older brother's fast footsteps. He is also an athlete specializing in the 400m hurdles and Ofentse is always there to give him pointers. "Kefilwe and I talk daily and advise him on the do's and don'ts in the sport. The 400m hurdles are all about speed and endurance," he said. One of those 'don'ts' is doping. In 2007 the World Championship 4X400m relay silver medalist escaped with a warning from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) after he tested positive for methylprednisolone. He was found guilty, but he was not banned because he cooperated with the governing body of world athletics and was allowed to continue competing.
"I would like to share my knowledge with the kids, especially on the dangers of taking substances and drugs that you are not aware of. It was a steroid that was prohibited, but I did not know about it. I took one tablet and it nearly ruined my career. I was in Morrocco when I was found guilty and I escaped with just a warning. We have to educate today's athletes about such dangers," he warned.
The father of two says he will never forget winning the 4x400m relay silver medal with the likes of LJ van Zyl and Oscar Pistorius at the Daegu World Champs in China in 2011. Mogawane believes that athletics have taken a nosedive in the country and points to the lack of development programmes as the problem. "There is a shortage of development and we no longer have many athletes competing in one event. It is difficult to measure yourself when there is little competition in this country. You need more competition to measure yourself. The sport is going down and has been relegated into an amateur sport. Four to five athletes used to run 45 seconds, but today we don't see those things. Athletics South Africa is no longer grooming athletes," said a worried Mogawane.
Mogawane who is not the one to shy away from voicing his opinion said Team SA might come back from this year's Olympics empty-handed. "Akani Simbine is our pride and joy. He can make the final, but I don't think that he can win a medal. Wayde van Niekerk won't do it again, he is not in the same shape since his injury," said Mogawane.