The Diamond of Kimberley Boipelo Awuah Skates On!

Boipelo Awuah pictured in Tokyo before her injury. Her prospects for Paris 2024? “Right now I will say that my points and standings are looking very promising. There is still a long journey ahead which I’m looking forward to.” Photo: Boipelo Awuah on Instagram

Boipelo Awuah is a name that has taken the South African skating scene by storm and her dominance is not relenting. Most recently, she defended her Street Lines title. An accolade she’s won three times, consecutively. Out of 20 women, from around the continent, the Kimberly native shone and continued cementing her prowess as a street skater.  

In the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (2021), the Diamond of Kimberley as she is affectionately known, earned the remarkable label of being South Africa’s youngest Olympian and also the only African woman in street skateboarding, lady’s division.

Sadly, a terrible injury sustained to her right pelvic saw, on Day 2 of practice her withdraw from the tournament before hitting the big stage. After overcoming that devastation, she was quickly back on the mend. “After my injury it was very challenging, mentally to not be able to skate, but getting back into skating was not as difficult. All I had to do was to get comfortable on my skateboard again, but for the most part my muscle memory of doing the tricks was still there.”

With the 2024 Olympic Games looming, we certainly hope that Boipelo can get a second bite at Olympic glory and she says the dream is promising tough there are some boxes to tick. “Right now I will say that my points and standings are looking very promising. There is still a long journey ahead which I’m looking forward to.”

Senior gsport writer Lonwabo Nkohla had a chat with this dynamic young lady, who we all hope will soon be a two-time Olympian:

Congratulations for recently defending your Street Lines title. It’s the third time you win this competition, how do you feel about dominating the women’s division so consistently?

The street loomed event is always one I look forward to. I always aim to skate better and to bring new tricks to the competition to challenge myself and others. Winning it for the third time in a row is just confirmation to me that I am progressing and getting better and that my progress is not stagnant.

The 2024 Paris Olympics are around the corner, where are you in terms of that journey, have you qualified and been selected to represent Team SA?

Right now I will say that my points and standings are looking very promising. There is still a long journey ahead which I’m looking forward to.

You come from a devastating injury in Tokyo, what kept you going throughout your recovery period? 

After my injury it was very challenging, mentally to not be able to skate, but getting back into skating was not as difficult. 

All I had to do was to get comfortable on my skateboard again, but for the most part my muscle memory of doing the tricks was still there.

Tough periods in our lives often toughen us up and teach us a thing or two about ourselves. What lessons or character-building things did you learn about, Boipelo?

I have learned that as much as I love competing, I love the preparation a whole lot more. The work you put in to prepare for competitions. I have also learned that I am a very unique person but the most surprising thing I learned about myself is that I don’t necessarily enjoy the attention and being in the spotlight as much as I thought I did. 

One more thing I’ve learned is that this gift that I have is not mine, it is just in me and that it’s a way for me to fulfil the purpose that GOD has for me.

When you reflect on your time with Team SA in Tokyo, what stands out as your main highlights?

What stood out most for me was the kindness and sportsmanship of my fellow SA Olympians.

You’ve been in the skateboarding scene for a number of years now, how would you describe the scene right now for women? Is it still heavily male-dominated or are we seeing more and more women take it up as a sport?

The female skate scene has grown insanely over the past 5 years. There are a lot more female skaters today. The males still over power us but I believe that it’s very evident the rate that the female skate scene is growing at.

How did you deal with challenges that came your way?

I try and have gratitude in every situation and for everything in my life and by letting GOD guide me through the challenging times and trusting in him.

What advice do you have for young girl skaters who will learn about your sport at the Olympics?

I would say to women wanting to start skateboarding is to do it because you love the sport. Be unique and do not try to be like someone else.

What is needed to ensure that women’s skateboarding becomes better served by the media?

Providing more support and including female skaters in more projects will definitely help the scene and community to grow at a much quicker rate.


Photo Caption: Boipelo Awuah pictured in Tokyo before her injury. Her prospects for Paris 2024? “Right now I will say that my points and standings are looking very promising. There is still a long journey ahead which I’m looking forward to.” Photo: Boipelo Awuah on Instagram

Photo Caption: An injury at the Tokyo Olympics has not stopped Boipelo Awuah from dreaming big and chasing Olympic Glory. South Africa’s youngest Olympian is back and has the 2024 Olympic Games firmly in her sights. Photo: Supplied

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