When sport goods maker Puma offered Sinesipho Dambile sponsorship in 2020, it completed the company’s search for “the next big thing”, and in some ways put the sprinter in the shoes of his idol, Usain Bolt.
It might be early days, but the 20-year-old could prove to be a good return on investment, following his exploits at the recent SA Senior Track and Field Championships that delivered a 200m title.
The newly crowned 200m South African champion believes team work, patience and hard work could take the country’s sprinters far.
Dambile also believes that, if he and his coach stick to their plan, they can achieve anything, “even beat relay records set by the US!”
This conversation with City Press is quite revealing:
You are now the ASA National Championships Gold medal winner over 200m in a time of 20:55. What made the difference in the final that enabled you to win your first national title?
It was cold and very windy. So the conditions were tough for all of us. But the difference is a hill in Pretoria we call Tlale.
I ran it a lot, especially during the Covid-19 [lockdown]. It strengthened my body and it showed that day against that wind.
Did you come into the championships with confidence?
Coach and I looked at the line-up and believed I would be top three and medal.
But I told my team I was going to win. So I had to show my championship heart. I delivered.
Any key factors that boosted your performances this week?
I have been working on my core-strength and my technique. Also, Clarence [Munyai] and I spoke before the semi-finals and he said: “Let’s put on a show.”
You have an SA Under-18 record as well as a world record and gold medal from the Under-20 World Champs. What have you learnt from these experiences?
That in South Africa, when we can work on our techniques, have belief and stick to the plan, we can achieve anything.
What are your goals for the rest of this year and beyond?
I have been invited to race in Rio [de Janeiro in Brazil] and I will use that opportunity to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in the US in July.
Long term, I believe that, if I can fulfil my potential, I will be the world’s fastest 200m runner.
What is the best advice you have received?
Patience! When I had a bad hamstring, I called Akani [Simbine] and asked him the secret to how he overcame his injuries.He said:
I realised that, if you get injured, you can learn and grow from the experience.
What shoes do you run in?
Puma Tokyo evoSPEED Future 2 Spectra sprint spikes.
When and why did you become a Puma athlete?
Bolt ran in Pumas, and he is still my inspiration.
So, when they contacted me in 2020, saying they were looking for the next big thing, I did not hesitate, because they believed in me.
Who have been the key influences on your journey?
Munyai and Simbine are my elders. They are always there for me. I can call them anytime and they will share all their knowledge and experience.
This plays a big role. Last week Clarence told me:
With all their support, it is no wonder our generation of sprinters is on fire!