They are young, they are ambitious and they run Joburg. Meet the next generation of young athletes who are set to disrupt Jozi’s running scene in collaboration with Nike. Fearless and independent, the eight handpicked athletes are carrying on the journey started in the short film, Born to do this, which celebrates Olympic and World Champion Caster Semenya.
Having overcome their own personal challenges to chase their dreams, each member of the crew has excelled in their chosen disciplines thanks to an unwavering self-belief. Now it’s time for them to take the next step. “These young people defy expectations. They create their own opportunities and they are passionate about running. They are the next generation of great athletes and they are the future for the sport of running in South Africa,” says Simidele Adeagbo Running Brand Manager at Nike South Africa.
In December, the young athletes will all be part of an exclusive training camp with Semenya at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto. Here they will receive valuable tips on how to perform at the highest level from one of South Africa’s most celebrated athletes.
The Born to Do It camp is a direct result of Semenya’s passion for giving back to the sport of running and, more importantly, empowering the next generation of runners. It will cover sport and culture and the young athletes will experience first-hand how sport can be a multiplier in their lives.
“It’s about changing lives. It’s about motivating the young ones and showing them that if it is possible for me to win, it can be possible for any other athlete. If I can impact positively on these youngsters, that will be a major win for me, for our nation,” Semenya says.
The eight athletes who will be attending the camp are:
- Zazini Sokwakhana (400m)
- Keletso Senosi (800m)
- Simonay Weitsz (Cross Country)
- Edwin van Wyk, (Hurdles)
- Valeska Nel, (200m and 100m)
- Caroline Mosime, (100m, 200m, 400m and high jump)
- Welma Nkuna, (Cross country)
- Glenrose Xaba, (Middle distance athlete)
Each of the collective have set audacious personal goals, which range from qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, to one day beating Semenya in a race. Already under Semenya’s mentorship, Xaba’s, dream is to run the fastest 10 000m by a South African woman ever. In October she was crowned the official winner of the Spar Grand Prix year amassing 104 points – seven more than the second-place competitor.
Last year Zazini took his first steps towards his current goal of qualifying for the World Championships in Doha next year when he won the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi in 2017. Nike will reveal the athletes’ unique stories over the next few weeks.
The company will be also be collaborating with the athletes to reset the look of running in Jozi this summer. Driven by the innovation behind Nike’s lightweight ZoomX technology, the eight athletes will be kitted out head to toe in Nike’s latest running gear to reveal a fresh new look for the sport.