Rising South African sprinter, Boipelo Tshemese, is aiming to build on her form after recently clocking a time of 11.70 at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championship 100m final where she earned a bronze medal for her efforts.
Tshemese, who is inspired by sprint champions Allyson Felix, Wenda Nel and Tebogo Mamatu, is hoping to emulate their performances as she intends to become on of the best on the track.
The sprinter has high hopes for her athletics career as she seeks to one day represent South Africa on the international stage at the IAAF Diamond League, World Championships and Olympics.
Apart from her athletics career, Tshemese is extremely passionate about giving back and would like to actively participate in developing athletics in the community.
Speaking with Babsie Kutwana, Tshemese reveals challenges faced in her career to date and who she leans on when times get tough.
Hi Boipelo, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. You placed in the bronze position of the ASA Senior Track and Field Championship 100m Women’s final, clocking in at 11.70 seconds. How do you feel about your performance?
I feel good because it was my first-ever 100m final race since I became part of the athletics family. However, I do feel like I could have done better, and I will take it as a learning experience to improve myself for the upcoming major races.
Will you have another opportunity to attempt to qualify for the Olympics later on this year and will you be making any changes to your training to improve your time to qualify?
At this point in time, I am taking it one step at a time. I do not want to put too much pressure on myself or have high expectations because I have been in athletics for less than 5 years. The aim is not only to improve in training but to improve in my overall execution for races to consistently set Personal Best times and Season Best times.
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
SMH, that is a tricky question because there is quite a few like Allyson Felix, Tebogo Mamatu and Wenda Nel.
“Allyson Felix is my inspiration because of her boldness and fearlessness.” – South African sprinter, Boipelo Tshemese
To get straight to the point, Allyson Felix is my inspiration because of her boldness and fearlessness. On the track, she has major titles that she has won and also having competed at professional level in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meter relay which I am mainly focused on.
How would you describe a normal day in your life?
In athletics, there is never a normal day. To answer your question, I wake up early in the morning to prepare for my morning session at the track and depending on what the day is, visit my physio on how my body feels and later on in the evening, I go to the gym to strengthen my body.
What are your aspirations for your athletics career?
When I joined athletics, I did not have any aspirations because I set the goal to first learn the ins and outs of the sport. At the moment, I aspire to represent South Africa at the Diamond League, World Championships, Olympics and compete at any overseas based major championships including League Meets.
What challenges have you faced thus far in your athletics career and how have you been able to overcome them?
There are quite a few challenges such as low self-confidence, high expectations from friends and family and fear of failure.
I managed to overcome the few challenges mentioned by being open to friends and family that in athletics – it is not about reaping the results now. It is a process and you got to trust the process if you want to stay in the game and make a long-term impact.
When did you first realise your athletic ability and what was your encouragement to pursue it?
In high school, I used to be very active in sports such as netball and hockey. I believe from there that is when I got an idea that maybe I could pursue a career in sport even though I knew it would be a challenge because of where I come from and the support structure around me.
Who do you lean on as your support system?
Without any second thoughts about it, I lean on my coach (Hennie Kriel), Newton Sports Agency and lastly, my lovely mother.
Do you have other interests outside of athletics? What are they?
Okay, this is an interesting question. I am a person who is passionate about giving back to society. So, one thing for sure, I am interested in community development through working with non-profit organisations to empower the youth.
Photo Caption: South African sprinter, Boipelo Tshemese. Photo: Supplied