Pankop girl makes South Africa proud

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Gopolang Mogale with fist up upon her return to South Africa from winning silver and bronze medals during Special Olympic World Summer Games in Dubai.

The 17 year old Gopolang Mogale from Pankop, made South Africa proud by winning a silver medal in 100m and a bronze medal in 200m during a Special Olympic World Summer Games in Dubai.

Although she is living with mental disability, this has never been deterred.

Her mother, Ms Lizzy Mogale, said Gopolang was always mocked and called with different names because she was deemed mentally unfit and defined as a crazy person.

“That made me feel bad especially because most of her mockers were adults, I could not understand why they would have a heart to do such a cruel thing.

“However, today words cannot begin to express how I really feel, Gopolang has made me a proud mother, more especially after what we have been through.

She said she noticed Gopolang’s talent for running in Secunda where she was a regional athlete representative.

“This is when I realized my daughter could be a rising star in what she is most passionate about and as a mother, I gave my daughter support emotionally, physical and mentally because I understood that if I did not do it, no one else would.

“She’s a gift that God gave me and I need to make sure that I take care of her and never and never give up on her even during darkest times,” she said.

Gopolang said she is very excited and cannot stop smiling and that she is glad that she was able to represent her country in Dubai.

“It was a dream come true, I first won bronze medal in 200m and I thought to myself this could not  be the best I could give to my country and I paced up to a second position with silver in my final track, which is 100m. I am so happy,” she said.

She encouraged those who want to excel in sports to be like her to be consistent and passionate and added that her experience in Dubai was an experience of a lifetime.