South Africa’s newly crowned sprint champion Tebogo Mamatu has set her sights on running her first sub 11 second 100m and qualifying for the World Champs in Doha. Her goal for 2020 is to make the Olympic team for Tokyo.
“Being crowned SA 100m champ was one of the goals I set for 2019, and I’m very excited for this season as there is more to come,” says 24-year-old Mamatu, who was born and raised in Dobsonville, Soweto and now lives in Hatfield, Pretoria.
A sprinter since her primary school days, Mamatu was offered a bursary by Hoërskool Monument and this inspired her to follow a career in athletics. “Ever since I’ve been striving to be the fastest South African female sprinter and one of the best in the world,” says Mamatu, who has a BSport Science degree from Pretoria University.
As part of the Grigora team she trains with the likes of fellow sprinter Thando Roto and 400m hurdler Wenda Nel, under the experienced eye of Hennie Kriel. “Working with legendary coach Hennie Kriel is truly a blessing. During my student days I would see this athletics coach wearing suits during training sessions, like he was a professor and I longed to become part of the group,” explains Mamatu.
“Coach is like a father figure and cares so much about helping us to be the best athletes and people. Before I joined Grigora there was a lot I still had to learn and Thando has taught me the importance of hard work, perseverance and patience. It’s a confidence booster knowing I’m at the right place with the right people.”
Mamatu, who does her warm up in the PUMA Speed 600 and competes in PUMA spikes, loves the 100m because it’s quick. “There’s no time to think how to execute, you just trust in the preparation and the process.”
PUMA South Africa Marketing Director Brett Bellinger says the brand is thrilled that Mamatu has added another speed crown to the PUMA family trophy cabinet. “Tebogo has rightfully claimed a space alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, as well as SA sprinter and Thando Roto.”
The sprinter has a poetic approach to coping with poor performances: “I remind myself that to reach the most beautiful destinations I need to go through stormy days and bumpy roads. I just need to keep focus and control what I can control.”
In conclusion she offers this advice to aspiring track athletes: “Set goals and find ways to implement them. Because a dream without setting goals and finding ways to make it happen is just a dream.”