One year after... Youth Olympic gold medallist Gezelle is still in the fast lane | SASCOC - SASCOC

One year after… Youth Olympic gold medallist Gezelle is still in the fast lane

By Mark Etheridge

Exactly a year ago on Tuesday young Gezelle Magerman ran her way to Team South Africa’s only medal of the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China when she won gold in the 400-metre hurdles event.
Road to Rio 2016 caught up with her to see what’s been happening in the 18-year-old’s life.

Can you believe it’s a year since your golden moment in Nanjing, China? How often do you think back to that night?
‘Sure, the time has really flown by and I’ve had an unbelievable year so far. The South African people have really taken good care of me since China and are still doing so. I have to admit that I’m loving every minute of it though. Then there were also a whole lot of awards and recognition that I’ve got: Newcomer of the year at the SA Sports Awards, Rising Star of the year at the Discovery Sports Industry Awards and Junior Athlete of the Year at the Spar GSport Awards. I often think back to China and that specific day and how it changed my life. All honour to our Heavenly Father who gave me this talent and I’m also very grateful to my parents, coaches, friends, family and the whole country for their support.’

Looking back a year later … has your life changed much since then? Do people know who you are in public etc?
‘Wow, oh yes I’ll say! .. my life has definitely changed. I’ve been on national TV a few times, been interviewed on radio stations and had lots of photo sessions for magazines and newspapers. So many people now know me and greet me regular and I often get asked for photos. I also enjoy that. People definitely know who Gezelle Magerman is now.’

Tell us what’s happened this year both on and off the track – how has the athletics gone since Nanjing and how is everything going at school?
‘Well I was crowned national and African junior champion in the 400m hurdles and was invited to the Boland Senior championships as well. I was crowned Boland senior champion in the 400m hurdles but at Seniors I ended fifth in the final. Yes, this is my matric year in Paarl and I aim to end my time at school (La Rochelle in Paarl) successfully. Luckily it’s not such a busy year for me on the athletics track.’

What are your plans for the future now?
‘Well first and foremost it’s my matric farewell on Wednesday, 30 September. Then it’s study, study and more studying.. for my final exam. And in the meantime myself and a few other athletes are already busy with our winter training programme for next year’s season.’

Anything else that you’ve been up to that your fans and supporters might find nice and interesting to read about?
‘Hmmm, yes, I’m a finalist in die Glamour magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year’ competition and will shortly be flown to Johannesburg for the formal ceremony. Hold thumbs for me because the winner will be crowned on 5 September.’

Picture by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA

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