13 February 2018

South Africa: Hard Work Paying Off for Tenacious Timoteus

The name Anthony Timoteus looks likely to become a name on South African track and field enthusiast's lips.

Boasting personal best times of 3min 46.57sec for the 1500 metre and 28:45 for the 10km, the University of Western Cape student has a bright future ahead of him, and his inclusion in the 2018 South African FISU World University Cross Country Championships team is just the start of that.

He was 'always in the mix' even when his athletics career took flight to play among the high flyers in athletics.

Despite posting laudable times such as 13:55.46 for the 5000m, 28:45 for the 10km, and 4:10 for the mile, it is hard to believe that his name is not among the stars yet, because it surely is written there.

But the man who was raised in the famous Stilwaney Street in Bellville South is quietly going about chasing his dreams. 'My recent achievements are priceless,' said the 2016 Under-23 5000m silver medalist. 'I've been putting in some hard work behind the scenes, and that paid off in different events.

'I'm referring to my sub 14-minute 5000m and sub 30-minute 10000m run on my first attempt. I never thought I was capable of running these times now, but I guess hard work isn't something that hides when the occasion arises.'

Determined and driven 'to show every child running up and down in the streets of Bellville South that this is not their final destination', Timoteus started running at the age of 11

It wasn't smooth-sailing from day one though. From not making provincial squads to missing the cut on national selection, a mind-shift was needed. 'I never knew sport had the ability to change a person's life... if only I had the imagination I have now a bit earlier in life, who knows? I was never going to miss out on qualifying for the world junior championships in 2013.'

When frustration and temptation to give up took their toll, Timoteus enjoyed tremendous support and encouragement from his longtime coach, Glen Bentley.

It was this partnership that aided a shift in literally every aspect of life for the Cape Town-based athlete. From a different environment to a holistic approach to his running under coach Bentley's guidance, his inclusion in his first South African team to the 2016 Confederations of University and College Sport Associations (CUCSA) Games in Zimbabwe didn't come as a surprise.

He walked away from those championships with a gold medal, and that boosted his confidence even more. That was followed up by medal-winning performances at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) track and field and cross country championships.

But his inclusion in USSA's team for the FISU World University Cross Country Championships team is the cherry on the cake in his resurging career. 'I always wanted to represent my country internationally. Being selected for this team is yet another dream come alive. It is an honor. This is yet another opportunity to show young and upcoming athletes that nothing is impossible.'

The championships will place in St Gallen, Switzerland on 7 April.

Looking ahead, he has his eyes set on the Olympic Games. 'I go out every morning working on my Olympic dream.'

Hufkie is a Cape Town-based freelance writer

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