Phenomenal Wayde Van Niekerk Dazzles Without Chains By Cheryl Roberts

28 Jun

IMG_7285When he runs on the global athletics tracks, its as if Wayde van Niekerk wants to show the world how humans can compete in sport when they have no chains. He runs because he knows the happiness of participating in international sport, the pride of representing a democratic South Africa and knowing your talent’s worth, which Wayde believes is God-given.

Wayde van Niekerk hasn’t said much publicly which reveals his social justice consciousness. That he is socially aware and has a social justice consciousness, there’s no doubt. You can see this in the personal of the athlete that is this global superstar.

Wayde van Niekerk is very much aware of struggle in people’s lives, in society and in sport. He knows about his mother Odessa’s sprint prowess in 1980’s South Africa, being born oppressed and participating in sport for freedom. Wayde concentrates on his today’s and future. But his participation in and achievement on the world athletics stage is always a reminder about the past; the horrendous apartheid past that discriminated against oppressed athletes.

For the oppressed who participated in anti-apartheid sport, Wayde van Niekerk’s spectacular world record breaking feats and global titles help soften the pain and hurt of the lost time in our lives when we sacrificed and fought for freedom in our life time. Wayde demonstrates the abundance of talent out there. He also shows that talent must be developed, nurtured and supported. Today, Wayde runs with pride for South Africa, knowing the past that got him to where he competes internationally, an opportunity denied his champion sprint athlete mother.

Today, he runs with no chains, just the freedom of his talent and desire to discover his worth.  But perhaps he also carries with him that piece thats always remembering his mother for sacrificing her sports life so he could one day represent himself without chains.

Unknowingly, Wayde van Niekerk’s phenomenal athletics achievements have repaid over and over the debt owed to those who unselfishly contributed to freedom from apartheid and opportunities to participate internationally. This is because it’s again demonstrated that discrimination should never be allowed in sport, ever again in South Africa. Talent must be developed and supported.

Wayde van Niekerk wants to be known as a South African athlete.  For those of us still connecting the dots of the past to the present, Wayde represents the anti-apartheid spors struggle being worth it. He will always be the son of an anti-apartheid sport mother.

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