ATHLETE Poppy Mlambo celebrated her 29th birthday yesterday, but says her best is yet to come.
Q: Where were you born?
A: I was born in Dennilton, Mpumalanga, on December 7 1980 but I grew up in Soweto in Emdeni and I now live in Protea, Soweto.
Q: Did you ever think you would make a living as an athlete?
A: I never thought I'd be doing this for a living. I always wanted to be a chartered accountant but after completing my matric I studied financial management. But then I decided to study sports administration since I was already an athlete.
Q: What were you like at school?
A: I was very talkative and outgoing.
Q: What do you remember most about your childhood and upbringing?
A: I was brought up by my aunt Mary and her husband Douglas. I had a good childhood because though my parents died I at no point ever felt that my cousins were preferred over me because they saw me as one of their children.
Q: Who were your sporting heroes growing up?
A: I used to like Elana Meyer and I still look up to her to this day. I first met her in 2005 and told her how much I admired her and she encouraged me to work hard and take my career seriously.
Q: Who do you regard as the greatest athlete ever?
A: It's Hendrick Ramaala because he puts his heart into everything he does. He has done well for himself and represented the country well internationally.
Q: What is the most memorable marathon you have ever taken part in?
A: It was the South African championships in Port Elizabeth in 2007, which was also my first race. I ran 2:39:20 and in the end won R103000 with which I bought a house in Protea, Soweto.
Q: How many languages do you speak?
A: I speak English, Zulu and a bit of Sotho.
Q: Do you think the death penalty should be reinstated?
A: I don't think so because many people are wrongly convicted, and if there was a death penalty most of them would die for crimes they did not commit.
Q: Which car do you drive?
A: I don't have a car yet, but I would like to buy a Hyundai Getz.
Q: If money were no object, which car would you buy?
A: BMW Z3 and X5.
Q: How much do you spend on airtime per month?
A: I spend about R300.
Q: What would you like to say to children who want to emulate you?
A: They must work as hard as they can to make a living out of sports. And getting involved in sports will keep them from the streets and drugs.
Q: What are your views on polygamy?
A: I don't think it's right at all, I think people should stick to one partner.
Q: Do you believe in heaven and hell?
A: Yes I do and I also believe in God. I always pray before and after a marathon. Without Him, I wouldn't have achieved half the things I have.
Q: If you could invite a celebrity couple to your house for dinner, who would it be?
A: I would invite Zam Nkosi and his wife Khensani and also Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo. Despite their success they remain humble and you never hear anything bad about them in the press.
Q: Who is your favourite actor?
A: It's Menzi Ngubane, Connie Ferguson and Sophie Ndaba from Generations and Tasha Smith from Why did I get married?
Q: Who is your favourite musician?
A: Beyonce Knowles.
Q: If you could bring one famous person back from the dead, who would it be?
A: It would be Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa. I would also bring back my parents.