I could have done any other sport but I wanted to do athletics’
From the age of 10 Tshepo Lefete found his passion for athletics. Tshepo was singled out at an early age for having the potential to be a great hurdler which fueled his fire to go for his new found dream. With Tshepo’s long limbs and well- built physique one could only assume that success hit him from day one but to my surprise that was not the case. Tshepo’s journey was not filled with big records and medals from the get go, it was only 9 years into his training did he win his first SA medal.
‘ I had been working for 9 years and it finally happened’
But winning the medal was not the only thing that brought joy to his heart but the fact that he got to share this experience with his friends and family close by which made it a day to remember. Tshepo cutely recalled how he even took his mom out for lunch because that medal was just as much hers and it was his. Gratitude, gratitude and even more gratitude, Tshepo Lefete is a grateful man. Even when asked about his injury last year Tshepo turned it into a beautiful testimony about gratitude and grace.
‘I look back now and I’m so grateful for last year because I have come out stronger and wiser’
Tshepo admits that being out last year was definitely a pit in his career, having to watch other athletes perform while he sat in the stands was hard on his heart but that didn’t take away from his hunger for the sport, his hunger for hurdles. Coming from a Christian home Tshepo wholeheartedly believes in the power of prayer which I found so moving and inspirational. Him and his family continuously prayed for healing and without doubt his prayers were answered . Tshepo entered into this year on a new level. He started to take responsibility for his training and pursue his dream with everything he had.
‘Things are not casual anymore, now I mean business’
Being out of the game has created a warrior within him and he feels that it is time to get out of his comfort zone and really start to push boundaries. Clearly Tshepo’s warrior mindset helped him drop his time from 13.9sec to now 13.57sec which he gives all glory to God ‘ I didn’t expect to run these times so quick, it all shows God’s grace’ he said humbly.
As any athlete Tshepo dreams about going to the Olympics but that is not all he dreams about. Tshepo dreams to inspire people, especially young athletes because he feels that South Africa has a lot of talent. “ I get inspired to inspire” said Tshepo with such conviction in his voice. Even while fulfilling his own dream he dreams to help other athletes do the same, a goal I find so unique to this young man. This is an athlete who has his heart set on the world stage of athletics and what makes him so special and stand out from all the rest is that he does not just want to do it for himself but to be an example for other young athletes.
Even though he wishes to inspire others he too needs some motivation along the way. Coach Hennie Kriel is there by Tshepo’s side motivating him and continually reminding him to keep his eye on his goal. ‘”Goals give you energy” he said energetically while giving thanks to his coach for all his support and encouragement. With his aim to break the SA record in 110m hurdlers, Tshepo is quick on his way to become a household name in South African Athletics which will carry him to the world stage to be the inspiration he so hopes to be.
When asked what would he say to an aspiring athlete his response, with no hesitation, was “Patience and diligence, like faith can move mountains”. Besides being a good quote I feel that it is perfectly suited for this athlete. With patience Tshepo trained hard with no rewards, rewards which only come nearly a decade into his career then again to have his patience tested when he was out for a year but with diligence he took his circumstance for what it was and came back better than he was before with running times unexpected to him and his fellow athletes.
I guess the next step for you my dear friend is to start moving mountains and I hope this article can give you the necessary reach to people that will help you on your journey and get you to Europe. This is man I know personally, he is a constant blessing at TUKS athletics. He is not only a talented athlete but a good man, who will be a household name not only in South African athletics but in World athletics not just for his hurdler ability but for who he is.
Now if you want to donate and help get Tshepo into the European circuit this year you can do so by directly depositing into his account:
Branch – SOUTHERN CENTRE S/C – 055534
Acc number – 422181153