As a former Olympic Youth champion, Gezelle Magerman, made a promise to herself to never retire before she knows she has given it her all as 400m hurdler.
“The last thing I want is to one day be haunted by the words ‘what if’. The day I decide to put away my spikes for good, is the day I should know that I have lived my dream,” the Tuks athlete said.
Her life has been a real rollercoaster ‘ride’ over the last few years. More often than she would have wanted Magerman ended up being disappointed. It would have been easy to quit. She has after all booked her place in South Africa’s sports history when she won gold at the 2014 Youth Games in Nanjing.
Some believe Magerman has got the looks to make a name for herself as an international model. In 2015 she was one of the eight women being honoured by SA’s Glamour magazine.
But for now, it is athletics that excites. That gets her adrenaline pumping. To her, there is an absolute thrill to get close to running that perfect hurdles race. The Tuks sports psychology student firmly believes she can qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
It will mean she has to improve by more than two seconds on the personal best time of 57.75s she had set in 2016. Magerman considers it doable.
Her confidence sprouts from training at Tuks with the former youth and junior 400m hurdles champion Zeney van der Walt as well as being coached by Maritza Coetzee.
“I don’t see Zeney as a rival she is a friend who shares the same goal. That is to be the best we can be. Since I started training with Zeney, I realised there is always room for improvement. That is exciting.
“Coach Maritza changed my whole perception as to what being a champion should be about. I used to be an egocentric as an athlete. Things needed to be about me, my success. Being that way inclined led to many an unnecessary tear being shed.
“It was ‘coach’ who taught me being self-centred is never going to make me happy. It is the best lesson I have ever been taught.
“Another important thing I have learned is that if you do the hard work, there is no reason to doubt your abilities when settling in your blocks to race.”
According to the Tuks athlete, she continuously needs to work on is her endurance.
“I absolutely love the 400m hurdles. The challenge of being so utterly focussed on overcoming ten obstacles running at speed excites me each time. The reality, however, is that you need to be as strong as you started out towards the latter stages of the race. It is something I battle with. But ‘Coach’ has got me working on it. I do feel I am getting stronger.”
Sort of to relax Magerman loves testing herself in the 100m hurdles. She is, however, not doing so often. The last time she did so was in 2016.
PROFILE Gezelle Magerman
Full name: Gezelle Magerman
Born: 21/4/1997 in Darling
Studying: BA Sports Psychology
By Wilhelm de Swardt/TuksSport Media