If I read the article about South Africa’s Simon Magakwe on April 1, I’d think it was just another April Fool’s joke.
But is this guy for real?
Here’s a story of a semi-homeless guy, carrying his world’s possession in a plastic shopping bag, with a PB of 10.45, runs 10.32, gets the race called back due to a false start, then immediately runs 10.21. 10.21, by the way, is an IAAF “A” Standard qualifying time.
All this in 3 year old pair of hand me down 800 meter spikes. In spite of back to back races with very little recovery, he won both races.
He follows the 100m victory (victories?) with a 20.90 2nd place in the 200m.
He doesn’t do weights, because he can’t afford a gym. He pays his “coach” about $10 USD a month, and even that is a stretch for some of the athletes on his team.
Is Simon Magakwe for real?
The South African national record is 10.06A (+2.0) set by Johan Rossouw on April 23, 1988. Even that performance was set in altitude and the maximum allowable wind. (Is it just me, or do you get suspicious when you see a +2.0 or +0.0 wind reading?) Johan Rossouw made my top 10 list in the controversial article about Marian Woronin.
The sad part is we only heard about him because he got injured playing soccer or football. I’ll bet Track and Field is losing a lot of athletes to other sports. Imagine if we had a bigger pool of athletes to choose from?
Let’s hope he keeps a level head and trains to his fullest potential.
The media loves and craves stories of superheroes (Usain Bolt), controversy (Dwain Chambers), and rags-to-riches stories. The story of Simon Magakwe is no exception.
I’d love to donate 10% of my ad revenue to him, but the reality is, our National Team needs it more.