Phethisang following in brother's steps

Phethisang Makhethe clinched gold at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl, Western Cape, with a distance of 65.07m late last month.
Phethisang Makhethe clinched gold at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl, Western Cape, with a distance of 65.07m late last month.
Image: Tobias Ginsberg

Budding hammer thrower Phethisang Makhethe, 17, is determined to emulate her brother and role model, Tshepang, who's the 2016 African Championships bronze medallist.

Be discus, shot put, javelin or hammer, let's face it, throwing is still one of those unpopular track and field events, more especially in black communities. Nevertheless, to the Makhethes, it seems to run in the family.

"My brother [who's 22 years old] is my idol... a true role model. I got into hammer throwing because of him. When I was 12 years old I was already practicing with him. My wish is to follow in his footsteps and achieve more than he has in hammer throwing," said the bubbly Phethisang.

"I told myself that if my brother can do it, I can also do it. I enjoy the pressure of being Tshepang's sibling; it always keeps me on my toes.

"He's the one that really helps me, though my coaches also help, but my brother's presence is very important to my growth as an athlete. It is easy to open up to him."

After clinching gold at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl with a distance of 65.07m late last month, the Sasolburg-born, Free State, thrower outlined her plans to represent SA in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

"I am targeting the 2024 Olympics. My aim is to keep on improving my technique. I also prepare myself by training with older athletes; that helps me to see how much of a progress I am making," noted Phethisang, who's doing grade 11 at Sasolburg Technical High School.

Having substantiated her credentials and potential in Paarl, Phethisang carries SA's hopes at the CAA African U18 Youth and U20 Junior Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. These games start today and conclude on Saturday.

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