My Story - Bundile GumbiI am Bandile Ngidi, 400m athlete from kzn (Margate) 20 years old, very passionate about athletics , been running for 5 years changing events each year, coming from a family that doesn’t like sport and believe that academics is the way forward and sport is just a distraction ,and had to lie to my parents saying that am going to extra classes when I am going to training.

I discovered my athletics talent in a creepy way. We stayed in a hood that had dogs all over and they used to chase us every day and I was always in the front and one of my friend tipped me to go run in Durban because there is a competition. That’s where it all started

It has been a rough journey for me considering that I didn’t have what the other athletes had like spikes(running shoes) in my years in high school and all the supporting equipment but that didn’t stop me from achieving my dreams so I won races running bare feet beating those guys with spikes which made me realize that I have talent.

I made provincials every year but then froze in the tops stages like finals but I say thanks to my high school coach, he organised for me to come here and apply at Tuks I ended up not going to my matric dance because of the trip here. Then in 2013 I joined Tuks athletics and that’s when I got most of the support with my coaches getting me spikes and running gear and Tuks athletics paying for my licenses and all.

And that season I didn’t compete much because of injuries but 2014 was a season to remember. I had a pb of 48:86 in the 400m. I joined Hennie Kotze early Feb and I trained with his group with the likes of Cornel, Ofentse, Kurt, Tsego and these guys supported me from the start pushing me and assisting me with all since didn’t have much that season.

I ran a pb of 47:59sec with just a months of training, and getting the fastest time for under 23s even though I got a slight injury and couldn’t run the final. Then I skipped under 23 champs in cape town and ran seniors and ran another 47 after the injury. I believe that since I did winter training well with coach Hennie and the character I’ve been showing in training I will have a good season this year. I’m aiming to run 45sec in the 400m and have an overseas season this year and I’ll try to qualify for Olympics.

In 2012 when I got double athletics honours in school breaking the records for 100m, 200m, 400m and winning the KZN championships for the 200m and 400m and being named athlete of the day alongside Justine Palframan was some of the most memorable moments in my career so far.

I learnt that to be the best you don’t have to be rich, you use what you have and see where it leads you too, running bare feet affected me because sometimes the track was too hot and I lost balance when running the bend. I didn’t complain but I focused on the bigger prize as I knew that your current situation doesn’t determine your future and I won provincial championships with no spikes and it proved everything and from there I got that support I needed.

Athletics has kept me disciplined and humble, whenever my friends go out to drink or party I just remember that I have dreams to chase and I stay behind and watch movies. Athletics has taught me that nothing is impossible if you work hard on it and stay focused

My biggest success factor is God because without him I am nothing. He gives me the power and strength to train hard and do well in races followed by my Aunty from Johburg (Precious Tsenase) who supports me by all means. She also comes and supports me at Sa’s and motivates me to work hard and my motto is “Die at training and come alive competition time”

Whenever I am back home I train a set of young boys who are talented but don’t have any form of support and I give them kit that I don’t use anymore. I help finance some to run at provincials and people ask me why I have less medals when I always win. I usually give my medal to the person who gets last position in that race to motivate him that he can also earn first place because I also experienced that last position and its discouraging.

Bundile Ngidi

Photo by : Tatenda Chidora