DURBAN masters athlete Simphiwe Zulu has earned a fistful of medals and accolades in track and field.
Despite these successes, his most treasured dream is to represent his country on the global stage.
He’s come close, three times in fact, having qualified to represent South Africa at the World Masters Championships Games, only to be disappointed at not being able to realise his dream due to a lack of funds. Far from throwing in the towel, this tenacious athlete is ready to try again, this time in the hopes that the community will help live out his dream.
Zulu is a South African champion and record holder in the 800m, 1 500m and 5 000m track and field events in the masters category.
He is hoping to lift the country’s flag at the World Masters Athletics Championship games in Malaga, Spain from 5 to 16 September this year. Having proven himself at local events and podiums across the country, Zulu is hoping to raise the necessary funding that will see him compete in Europe.
Sadly, athletes who qualify for the masters category do not receive funding from the South African Athletics Foundation and are required to fund themselves.
The 41 year old, Durban-based runner who is unemployed, believes hardship often prepares ordinary people for extraordinary destinations and is hoping that crowdfunding will set him on his dream journey to the athletic tracks of Spain.
“You know, I’ve qualified three times to represent my country at the World Masters Championship games but failed to make it there on all three occasions. It’s so sad for me as an athlete since I work extra hard to be consistent throughout the year. I’m a fighter, you know. I was shot in the stomach a few years back but managed to bounce back. I’m hoping to organise some fun runs to raise funds for my up-coming trip.” said Zulu, who runs under the colours of Hollywoodbets Athletics Club.
South African renowned athletics commentator, John Paul, was shocked to learn that Zulu, who is such an experienced and talented runner and holder of the South African 8km masters cross-country title, is battling with funding.
“I had the pleasure of commentating on his triple gold medals ( 800m, 1 500m and 5 000) last year at the South African Masters Championship in Cape Town. He was a pleasure to watch and has a beautiful running style. I truly wish he gets the help he needs from the public,” said Paul, who’s based in the Western Cape.
Zulu, who achieved a personal best of 29:04 in the 10km event this year, and has been in sparkling form this season, has already scooped a couple of 10km road running races including the Umtshezi 10km run, Zululand 10km marathon, Doctor Dube 10km race and DeloitteChallenge to name a few.
Furthermore, he won the 1 500m and 5 000m track and field races at the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Championship earlier this year. His next challenge is the Durban City Marathon, on 15 April before heading off to Bloemfontein to defend his titles at the South African Masters Championship later this month.
For more information on how you can donate, contact Mr Simphiwe Zulu on: 083 7175 592.