Sun Sep 24 07:11:38 SAST 2017

Sisanda's sights all set on Paris 2024

By Sihle Ndebele | 2017-09-13 09:56:28.0

At just 13, canoeist Sisanda Mthabela is already dreaming about representing South Africa at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

In SA, it's seldom to see a black child - let alone a girl - so passionate about a sport like canoeing. But Mthabela is a rare breed. She has been at her prime since she was stung by the love of the sport in 2014.

The young peddler, who is doing Grade 8 at Hoerskool Rooderpoort on the West Rand, has won numerous medals at school level.

"My dream is to compete at the Olympics in 2024. At the moment I am working to improve on sprinting because I have been doing long-distances and now I want to master the sprinting part of canoeing," the soft spoken Mthabela said.

"My coaches are motivating me to keep on working hard because they see that I am committed. I watched the Olympics last year and I saw that there were no South Africans in canoeing, that made me want to represent my country even more," she said.

Her mother , Londiwe Mthabela, who works at the City of Johannesburg's health department, is investing heavily in her child's Olympic dreams.

"She always tells me about her desire to go to the Olympics. I have invested a lot in her. When she goes to competitions

"I accompany her. I use my own money to book accommodation and flights. Her plans to go there are on track because I have hired a physical trainer for her," said Londiwe, who said she forks out about R2400 every month for the fitness coach alone.

The Florida, Johannesburg-born young canoeist, who is a member of Florida Canoe Club, also wants to do archeology as a profession just in case her career in sports does not go as desired.

In April this year, Mthabela was selected to be in the Gauteng team for the SA Schools Championships, which was in Swellendam in the Western Cape. She claimed two medals, bronze in 200m and silver in 100m.

In 2015 she got her only gold medal so far at the Gauteng schools competition in Watuni, Vanderbijlpark.

She will be eager to add one more medal to her impressive medal collection when she participates in the Gauteng School League at Homestead Dam in Benoni on October 1.