Born To Be On The Track

Kagiso Leduma aspired to run his new personal best and be amongst the Top 3. He represented UJ’s track and field team in the 2022 USSA Athletics Championships held in Cape Town. Despite failures, he was not deterred.

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By Rutendo Geraldine Mangwiro
Images by Rutendo Geraldine Mangwiro

How does one reach glory, fame or life fulfilment? Do they just wake up, manifest it into existence and watch it happen in an instant? Such achievements do not happen overnight. They are born out of hard work, determination and the will to be what other people look up to for inspiration.

One person who knows this all too well is Kagiso Leduma, 20, from Zone 2, Pimville in Soweto, south of Johannesburg. He is a second-year Management Logistics student at the University of Johannesburg.

He was born to be on the track, and it shows through the obstacles that he has had to overcome to be where he is today: qualifying for the 2022 University Sports South Africa (USSA) track and field event.

His first race, however, was  at the 2022 Central Gauteng Championships, which led to his mental struggle. “What I had planned going into the race wasn’t what happened,” explains Leduma  

He set a high bar for himself and when he failed to reach it, he thought his training had gone to waste. He credits this perspective to his lack of faith and trust in himself. He toiled to build stamina. Leduma had to get his body, mind and soul into the game.

The athlete has been running for 12 years. His passion for track and field dates back to his primary school days at Nkholi Primary School. Many kids in primary school partake in sports just for fun or because it is required of them but Leduma found his passion in track and field, and has not looked back since.

USSA Athletics Championships 

Three weeks after the 2022 Central Gauteng Championships, it was finally time for the 2022 USSA Athletics Championships. Once again, Leduma had to compete against the very same people that he had competed against at the Central Gauteng Championships. At that moment, he began to question his ability. Had he trained hard or long enough in order for what had happened three weeks prior to not repeat itself?

Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve the goals he had set for himself. Even though he did not make it to the finals, he ran a good season’s best at 1:54.45 despite having planned to run at 1:48.01.

However, Leduma knows where he comes from and where he wants to go. He was able to push those emotions aside and be in the moment. He stated that once he got over the mental battle and realised that this was the last race for the season, he was able to bring himself into the moment to enjoy the race and meet potential friends. 

“Lose first to win”

Leduma’s athletic journey was that of patience, perseverance, focus and immense discipline. “Dating back from my high school all the way to varsity is that athletics have the same principles whether you are young or old. There are basic principles that we all follow to get to the top and maintain yourself being at the top. 

“Anything is possible for anyone who wants to join track and field, even for those who are already in the game. You have to lose first to win,” says Leduma.

He states that his family was and is still very supportive of what he does. What is most heartwarming is that his first coach was his grandfather. Leduma emphasised the point that although you run an individual race it does not mean that you are running for yourself. It is all about teamwork because you can not reach the top alone; you need people to lean on.

He encourages learners in high school, who want to pursue track and field, to go for it. Apart from being able to run with your team and achieving dreams together, he stated that there are other perks that come with the sport.

Perks include travelling around the country, the world and experiencing a whole different life. For the remaining year, he will prepare for the USSA cross country that he qualified for.

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