Tumi Ramokgopa Making Her Mark in Athletics

Sixteen-year old scholar Tumi Ramokgopa’s journey is a testimony to her love for setting new records on the athletics track, and she wants to take every opportunity to stand out and enjoy each athletic year to the best of her ability. Photo: Hilton Kotze / Africa Photographic

Passion, dedication, and a social butterfly isn’t how one would describe a 16-year-old, but Tumi Ramokgopa is one such teenager. Her zest for life and passion for her athletics career is what makes her stand out as she continues to push the boundaries of social normality.

From being an active child who ran around to obtaining her international medal in athletics, Tumi’s journey is a testimony to her love for what sets her soul on fire. Competing at the Commonwealth Games has taught her much about what she can improve on.

“Zeney Geldenhuys is someone I admire. I did not expect myself to be in the team but God gave me the opportunity. I just motivated myself by being reminded that I am representing myself and God’s talent, so I use every opportunity He gives me wisely,” she said.

She recently competed at the ASA Championships in Pretoria and won the 400m hurdles in a team loaded with senior athletes. With a mixture of nervous emotions, she ran a superb race that saw her beat her personal best time, which she had set a few days prior.

“I was nervous because there were international athletes as well. I took the task and I ran my own race, and shockingly I dominated in a way I did not expect to. I was and still am very proud of myself.”

U18 400m Hurdles SA Record Holder, Tumi Ramokgopa

Balancing school and training six times a week is no easy feat, but the spunky, feisty teenager handles both with ease. It is always difficult with athletic meets and tiredness setting in, but her determination to be the best version of herself and the sacrifices are all worth it in the end.

“My training days are different from each other. I don’t generally have a bad day at training unless it is a hard session, but these moments are what make everything worth it when it all comes together in the end. I must improvise between school and training but it is all worth it.”

The landscape for female athletes has evolved significantly over the years, with increased opportunities, visibility, and support. More recently, there has been a push for equal pay, better media coverage, and representation in leadership roles. 

Promoting women’s sport at all levels and celebrating their achievements can help shift cultural perceptions and provide more opportunities for growth and recognition.

“Allocating more resources, funding, and infrastructure to women’s sports would help level the playing field and provide equal opportunities for training, coaching, and facilities. It would support the development of talent and enhance the overall quality and competitiveness of women’s sports.”

“Challenging and dismantling gender stereotypes against women in sports is crucial. By promoting diverse representations of female athletes and celebrating their accomplishments, we can foster a more inclusive and supportive environment that encourages participation, respect, and recognition for women in sports.”

“As women in sport, we are all built in different ways, with different hearts, but we all have the purpose to dominate in sports,” she concluded.

Sydney McLaughlin and Babe Didrikson have played a pivotal role in Tumi’s athletic career. Commitment, dedication, discipline, and support are just a few of the attributes she draws from these iconic athletes.

“Sydney is an inspiring young woman with true dignity and passion for the love of her sport. Babe Didrikson’s legacy was unmatched, and she was an inspiration to those who came after. Her success not only showcased incredible athleticism but also sparked important conversations about gender equality, pay equity, and representation in sports. Her iconic win highlighted the power of female athletes to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide while advocating for greater recognition and respect in the sporting realm.”

With 30 years of Freedom upon us, Tumi believes that it has allowed athletes to pursue their desires and beliefs. It serves as a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices to secure and protect the rights and freedom of individuals and society.

“If it wasn’t for the end of apartheid, I genuinely believe that women would not be able to participate in sport as we are doing today.”

As a young athlete, Tumi hopes that she can dominate more in the future than she is doing at present. Participating in the Olympic Games will always be something she aspires to, but international and national competitions are just as important, and she wants to take every opportunity to stand out and enjoy each athletic year to the best of her ability.


Photo Caption: Sixteen-year old scholar Tumi Ramokgopa’s journey is a testimony to her love for setting new records on the athletics track, and she wants to take every opportunity to stand out and enjoy each athletic year to the best of her ability. Photo: Hilton Kotze / Africa Photographic

Photo Caption: Tumi Ramokgopa is an articulate spokesperson for the advancement of women in sport, and is quick to credit those who laid the path. Photo: Supplied

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About the Author:

Selina Munsamy

Selina Munsamy

I am a sports enthusiast. I am newly appointed KZN Women's Cricket Manager for the 2019/2020 season. My passion lies in cricket, technically I live and breathe cricket. I am a Scorer affiliated to KZN Cricket Scorer's Association. I also coach mini cricket for Tongaat Cricket Union. Live, Laugh and Love with Sport.

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