No Dampening Dambile’s Spirits


Fresh from making it into the semi-final round of the 200m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, we caught up with South Africa’s Sinesipho Dambile for a quick Q&A.

On Wednesday morning, in the men’s 200m first round heats, three South Africans lined up, looking to book their place in the semi-final round. By the end of the heats, there were three South African flags in the list of qualifying athletes, as Sinesipho Dambile, Luxolo Adams and Shaun Maswanganyi all went through to the next round, due to take place on Thursday night.

Dambile lined up in heat 6, running in lane 8 next to fellow PUMA athlete, 2021 Olympic Champion André de Grasse of Canada. “I felt him coming and just went with him,” says the South African. The heat was won by USA’s Erriyon Knighton in 20.17, De Grasse was second in 20.28 and Dambile claimed third in 20.34, putting him amongst the fastest losers and thus into the next round.

The young South African will also be part of the SA team in the 4x100m relay, where the SA team is expected to make the final and challenge for a podium position, but for now his focus will be on the 200m, and as he told us just before the World Champs, this is his big chance on the world stage.

Q. Being a young athlete, how important is getting to compete on a world stage in terms of getting you to where you want to be as an athlete?
It means we are at the right path with my team, we just need to keep on working consistently and we will be where we what to be with the experience we will be getting running with the top competitors.

Q. What are your goals for this year’s World Champs?
A. Focusing on my race plan and hopefully this World Champs will be a breakthrough for me in running with the best.

Q. In July you clocked 20.32 in Belgium, coming really close to your PB of 20.29, run last year in July. Do you feel you’re hitting top form at just the right time for these World Champs?
Definitely. I am catching form at the right time, and am going to run something big at the World Championships, because I am running fast at training.

Q. Having won the bronze medal in the 200m at the World Under-20 Champs in 2021, do you feel any pressure going into these World Champs, or do you still see yourself getting used to the step up to senior competition at the global level?
No pressure, it’s just me versus me, and the focus is on running a better race. I know myself, and I always run a great race when it matters the most. I love running with faster guys, because I like being the underdog.

Q. On a similar note, you won the gold medal with the SA 4x100m Relay Team at those World Under-20 Champs. Did that make you hungry for similar success at the senior level?
Definitely! Tasting that gold made me more hungry to taste one on this next level.

Q. Can you tell us what the mood is like in the SA 4x100m squad going into the World Champs? After the high and low of Poland last year, followed by making the final in the USA, there must be a lot of confidence amongst the guys?
We have a great team, and I believe we can pull it together. We get along so well that it is just a matter of time for us to get that gold.

Q. Who are your role models?
World Record-holder in the 200m Usain Bolt, and former World Record-holder Michael Johnson.

Q. Lastly, where do you see yourself in five years?
I will be in the top 1% with the great sprinters, and winning Olympic and World Championship medals!

Modern Athlete’s coverage of the World Athletics Championships is brought to you by PUMA.

(Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)