Gauteng teen flies SA flag high at Special Olympics
5 Dec 2019
Story by Nthabiseng Noqondo Tlaka
A 17-year-old athlete from Hammanskraal, a township north of Pretoria, won medals at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in the United Arab Emirates, flying the South African flag high.
Gopolang Mogale, who has an intellectual impairment, competed in the 200m and 100m where she scooped a silver medal and bronze medal respectively.
Mogale who completed grade 7 last year at Mantjedi Special School in Pankop, Mpumalanga, told ThisAbility that, “I am inspired by Caster Semenya. I’ve always wanted to be like her.”
Her gift in running was realised when she competed in provincial and regional events, where she excelled and qualified to represent South Africa internationally.
Mogale was mentored by Boipelo Letlape who said, “I have known Gopolang for over five years, and being her mentor in her academics has been an honour. She has always loved sports, always eager to go to training after school.”
The athlete’s mother, Lizzy Mogale; said that raising a child with a disability has not been a walk in the park as she has always had to educate the community about her child’s disability.
“I am grateful for all the opportunities given to Gopolang to achieve her dreams even beyond her social barriers,” she said.
The proud mother could not contain her excitement over the achievements of her precious star. “I am blessed with a daughter whom I named Gopolang, which means to remember. God has indeed remembered our family. My daughter will be representing South Africa again internationally in 2020 and hopefully South Africans will get a chance to support her.”