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Radebe hoping to realise Tokyo 2020 dream

Radebe

Judging by his results, it would seem seven is Lucky Radebe’s (TuksTrampoline) lucky number, but he’s working hard towards changing it to something smaller.

Hopefully that will happen during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The University of Pretoria Sport Science student has one burning desire – to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games. That’s why, despite having undergone operations on both knees you’ll still find him spending most of his days in the Rembrandt Hall, training as if there is no tomorrow.

‘The Olympics is the ultimate goal for any athlete and I want to experience it. To represent my country and get a good result will make the whole experience so much more special,’ said Radebe, who is the current African champion.

The two results he’s proudest of, are his seventh place finish at the 2009 World Games and his seventh place finish at the 2014 World Championships. Jokingly, he says seven must be his lucky number.

To jump on a trampoline while trying to execute all sorts of ‘daredevil movements’ to perfection was not always his favourite activity.

Radebe grew up in Alexandra playing soccer as most boys do. Out of curiosity one of his friends suggested that they should give gymnastics a try. So they did. Radebe enjoyed it, but quickly realised that he was not quite strong enough to become a good gymnast.

It was Helen and Tiaan van der Walt who convinced him to try the trampoline, and we can now safely say the rest is history. Through trampoline he got the opportunity to matriculate at the TuksSport High School and go on to study at the University of Pretoria.

Radebe makes it clear that success is not about jumping as high as you can while trying to do backwards and forwards somersaults.

‘To be successful in trampoline means you need to be strong and flexible, but you should also have good body control and body awareness. Basically our sport boils down to being fearless and having mind control. The human body is capable of amazing feats if the mind allows it certain freedom.

‘It is a myth that the higher you jump the better you will perform. I average about five to six metres, the same as a pole vaulter when I train or compete. It is all about body control. Good technique is of the utmost importance.’

Interesting to note is that the first modern trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1934 at the University of Iowa. It was initially used to train tumblers and astronauts and as a training tool to develop and hone acrobatic skills for other sports such as diving, gymnastics and freestyle skiing.


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