Lebogang Shange is the South African race walk champion who has almost broken every national record there is to be broken. His records on the road and track makes him one of the best race walkers ever in South Africa, however, if you meet the guy for the first time, you will see the epitome of humility. Let’s find out a bit more about the star:

What is your nickname? “I have plenty nicknames, but the main one is ‘Ma-Thousand’ (I don’t know why they call me this) and in Pretoria they all they call me by the name of a song because of race walking”

Biggest achievement in your athletics career? “My biggest achievement is standing in the front line at the Race Walking World Cup with all the best in the world. It shows I am going somewhere and at least coming from the back I can now say I am amongst the top 15 in the world, I am going somewhere and making something with my life” (Great achievement indeed)

What motivates you? “Staying at HPC does motivate me, everyone is training and goes out training in the morning and if you don’t, you feel bad. I want to be the best in the world, and that motivates me everyday, I know it is not easy, but if you want to be the best, you have to work hard.” (Train, eat and sleep you say?)

Who is your coach? “Chris Britz, I really want to thank him for believing and seeing something in me. My performances changed dramatically since moving to Pretoria, so I’d like to say thank you to: HPC, my coach, my friend Ivan, Brenda Wakfer and I would like to thank Team Shange (Everyone).”

Favourite series, movie and music? “Favourite series: Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, movie: well, I’m not much of a movie guy, because it takes one hour and then I’m gone, I don’t even go to the cinemas anymore and music: I’m into Pakati, Ekasi Hip Hop, old school hip hop, deep house”

What do you do for fun? “I’d like to go out with friends. We chill, catch up, because most of the time when I am training, people say I am boring because I eat, sleep and train, I can just say I go out with everyone I need to go out with” (Shange is very well-know, so he is sought after)

Describe yourself in three words? “I’m a believer, go-getter and lazy” (Athletes are lazy, except in training)

What are your last thoughts before you race? “I ask and answer myself: why did I come here? What am I doing here? I’m supposed to be at home sleeping. But my final answer is, you are here because you are the best and you are here to win”

Where are you originally from and why did you make a move? “I’m from Orange Farm, and what made me leave the ghetto was when I met Brenda Wakfer and Tsepho Khoza, they showed me that anything is possible and that when I moved to Tshepo and then to Brenda. Race walking made me who I am today and without race walking and the people believing in me, I’d still be in the ghetto”

Who is your role model and why? “Jarred Tallent, he is my role model because he believes in me. He motivates, speaks and encourages me a lot.”

Lebogang Shange is clearly a man who knows where he comes from and where he is headed. He is ranked in the top 20 in the world over 20km and he is in good shape to finish top ten and possibly top 5 at this year’s Rio Olympic Games. Lebogang, we wish you nothing but the best with all your endeavours!

#bringingtrackback #road2rio