17-year old Praxedis Dim hails from the south of Johannesburg, Kliptown to be exact. She is a bright young prospect in the athletics world of South Africa, and is making her mark.
Praggy, as she is known to those close to her, is a very shy young lady that was not even aware of her gift and ability of athletics.
She says, “I was just asked to run, and I went without asking any questions. Nobody in my family was an athlete. But younger sister is also running, and she is doing well.”
Even though this shy teenager loves her sport, she does not always like being away from home.
“I miss my family terribly when I am not at home, and my best friend Simone Peacock, who runs with me but is slightly injured at the moment.”
Athletics and school takes up most of her time but she also enjoys listening to music, going out with her friends and she absolutely loves watching soapies with her grandmother.
Her athletics dream is very big and admits that sometimes it is very hard to conceptualize, but is eagerly awaiting the challenges.
“Being interviewed is not the nicest thing” she says. “I don’t like the attention and all the cameras, I just love running and I enjoy it.” She is an extreme introvert she says but was kind enough to give gsport some insight into her young life.
gsport is proud to introduce the April gSTAR: Teenage Cross-Country Talent, Praxedis Dim!
What is your full name?
Do you have nicknames?
How did it start?
They gave it to me, because nobody knows how to pronounce my name.
How old are you?
17 years old, I turn 18 in December, on the 15th.
Where were you born?
Here in Johannesburg.
Where do you live now?
I live in Kliptown, in South Africa.
Do you go to school? If so, where, and what are you studying?
I go to Missouri High School, in Eldorado Park.
What do you love the most about South Africa?
There is nothing in particular that I love; we have a very beautiful country, even though sometimes things are not as they seem.
There is a lot that we have going for us.
What is your average day like?
I go to school every morning, and I train for two hours everyday after school. Training starts at 16h00 everyday.
What is it about running that makes you come alive?
I really don’t hey, I started running from a very young age.
And my athletics career was not planned, because I was just asked if I am interested to run, and agreed.
I can’t explain to you, but I now just love doing it. It is very difficult to explain, but I love doing it.
When did you first run a competitive race?
I was about 12 years old, or maybe 11 years old, but it was about that time.
I remember running in Umtata. I came second in that race and it I loved the experience. And after that it was just gold, gold, and more gold.
How did you get into cross-country running?
When I was still running U12 at school, I did cross country, and ran the track for my school.
I was asked if I am interested in running, and I said yes, not knowing that I would do as well I did.
What is the difference between cross-country running, and road, or track-running?
It is mostly the training that is different. You train very hard for all races, but you always do more than what you must.
So if you are training for the 3000m, then you have to train as if you were doing the 5000m for example, because you don’t know what the circumstances will be when you are actually in the race.
So, you have to work very hard. And when it is cross country season, then its more road running, because you need to get use to the road.
What is your favourite distance? And your best time?
I don’t have a favourite race as yet, because I do both cross country and track.
And I am not so sure about my best time for cross country, but for the 3000m it is about 9:45 or 9:47.
Where have you traveled internationally, and what is your favourite foreign destination?
Well, I just got back from Kenya, but I have been to places like Malawi, Madagascar, Australia and my all-time favourite has to be Mauritius.
I really never thought that a girl like me could go to a beautiful place like that.
You were the first South African home in Mombasa, at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Kenya last weekend: What was the race like, and how well did you run?
I was very satisfied being the first South African athlete to reach the finish line, I was number 49.
It was very hot there, but I enjoyed the race. We were not really used to that type of weather, but in the end everything was ok.
But I think I could have had a better race.
Do you intend to run marathons at a later stage of your life?
I am not completely sure. But I don’t think so, because I don’t really enjoy running that far. But you never know.
What are your athletic ambitions?
I just want to run, and do well. I also want to go the Olympic Games, and the World Championships. I am aiming for the 2012 Olympics.
Why is sport important to you?
I just enjoy it, that why it is so important. I love running.
How do you find the time to fit sport into your life?
At the moment it is very easy, because I go to school during the day, and I train in the afternoon. So it’s easy to cope.
But when I go away to participate at the different competitions, it gets tricky because I have to catch up with my school work.
I hate that, because there is just so much work sometimes.
Do you maintain a fitness regime, or a special diet, in addition to participating in your sport?
No I don’t really; I just eat whatever my mom makes. Just ordinary, normal food.
What does femininity mean to you?
It’s just nice being a girl.
gsport’s April theme is Responsibility: What does that mean to you, and what effect has it’s application had on your life?
I am only responsible for myself, and what happens in my life.
This is why I see responsibility as something an individual must take care of. It is a personal choice.