Witsie David Okharedia is a favourite to win in the South African under-23 (U23) Championships this coming weekend at the Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria.
The Computer Science honours student will be running the 100m and 200m as well as the 4x100m relay.
Okharedia started running when he was in primary school but unfortunately had to stop when he reached high school as the school he attended decided to cancel all athletics. In his second year at Wits, however, he started running again for the Wits Athletics Club and soon realised his natural talent for the sport.
In order for him to take his running to the next level, he had to get a good coach and a very fast training group, Okharedia said.
His coach, Oom Johan, plays a vital role in his life, not only in training, but in keeping him up to date on which competitions to run in.
Former Wits athletics manager, Onkabetse Matlhaga, also helps in keeping Okharedia well-informed about what’s going on in athletics even though he is not working at the university anymore.
“This, of course, aids me in focusing on my studies,” he said.
After winning the Central Gauteng U23 Championships over 200m and the Senior Championship over 100m, Okharedia would definitely be sitting as a favourite to win gold this weekend.
As big as this race may be, his focus is on the SA Senior Championships, happening in Cape Town from the April 12 to 14.
“This weekend should serve as a good warm-up for next weekend,” he said.
Okharedia confides: “Call it superstition or whatever, but before every race I like to read three bible verses.”
He explains that the way he manages to balance his studies with his sport is that he believes “if you make something a priority in your life, then you will always have time!”
Okharedia said that while he plans on continuing to run in the short-term, his long-term plans in the sport were uncertain.
“Well today I run, tomorrow I run, but as to whether I will be running in the next five years, only time will tell.”