Dambile is ready to fill Bolt’s giant shoes

Sinesipho Dambile, 200m SA champion. Photo: Gallo Images


When sporting goods maker Puma offered sponsorship of Sinesipho Dambile in 2020, it completed the company’s search for “the next big thing” and, in a way, put the sprinter in the shoes of his idol, Usain Bolt.

It may just be the start, but the 20-year-old could prove to be a great return on investment, following his exploits at the recent SA Senior Athletics Championships which won a 200 title Mr.

South Africa’s new 200m champion believes teamwork, patience and hard work could take the country’s sprinters far.

Dambile also believes that, if he and his coach stick to their plan, they can accomplish anything, “even breaking the relay records set by the United States!”

READ: Richardson eyeing Olympics after Kenya exploits

This conversation with City Press is quite revealing:

You are now the ASA Nationals Gold Medalist in the 200m in 20:55. What made the difference in the final that allowed you to win your first national title?

It was cold and very windy. The conditions were therefore difficult for all of us. But the difference is a hill in Pretoria that we call Tlale.

I ran it a lot, especially during the Covid-19 [lockdown]. It strengthened my body and it manifested that day against that wind.

Did you come to the championships with confidence?

The coach and I watched the lineup and thought I would be in the top three and medal.

But I told my team that I was going to win. So I had to show my champion heart. I delivered.

Were there any key factors that boosted your performance this week?

I worked on my trunk and my technique. Also, Clarence [Munyai] and I spoke before the semis and he said, “Let’s put on a show.”

You have an SA under-18 record as well as a world record and gold medal at the under-20 world championships. What did you learn from these experiences?

That in South Africa, when we can work on our techniques, have faith and stick to the plan, we can accomplish anything.

What are your goals for the rest of this year and beyond?

I was invited to run in Rio [de Janeiro in Brazil] and I will take the opportunity to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in the United States in July.

In the long term, I believe that if I can fulfill my potential, I will be the fastest 200m runner in the world.

What is the best advice you have received?

Patience! When I had hamstring pain, I called Akani [Simbine] and asked him the secret of how he overcame his injuries.

He said:

Patience. Patience. Patience.

I realized that if you get hurt, you can learn and grow from the experience.

What shoes do you run in?

Puma Tokyo evoSPEED Future 2 Spectra sprint spikes.

When and why did you become a Puma athlete?

Bolt raced in Pumas, and he’s still my inspiration.

So when they reached out to me in 2020, saying they were looking for the next big thing, I didn’t hesitate, because they believed in me.

Who have been the main influences in your career?

Munyai and Simbine are my elders. They are always there for me. I can call them anytime and they will share all their knowledge and experience.

It plays a big role. Last week, Clarence told me:

You are the next big thing.

With all their support, it’s no wonder our generation of sprinters are on fire!

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