5 minutes with Katlego Sotsaka

EMMANUEL OLUSEGUN

Perdeby sat down with TuksRowing Champion, Katlego Sotsaka, to discuss his history with the sport, as well as his thoughts on its future in SA, particularly on its potential popularity among black people.

 

How did you first get started in rowing? When I first started rowing, I initially joined because there wa s a girl I had a crush [on] who was doing it, so I decided I would pick it up as well. As time went on, I realised I really enjoyed rowing. I started rowing when I was in high school. I initially attended Willowridge High School, but then finished high school at St Albans. I was a rower for both of those schools. I then joined TuksRowing after high school. While training for the SA Junior Championships, James Thompson, who was part of the gold-medal winning 2012 Olympic rowing team, suggested that if I would like to pursue a rowing career I should come to Tuks.

 

Did you play other sports in High School? What made you choose rowing over these sports? During high school, I was a rugby player and I did athletics. Rowing has always stood out for me because it is challenging [as] it pushes [my] limits and is physically and mentally demanding. It gave me that extra kick that I felt I was not getting from rugby or athletics.

 

What has been your biggest achievement since taking up rowing? My proudest moment during high school was in 2012 when I qualified for the SA Junior Championships. During university, I would have to say my proudest moment was when I won my first Boat Race competition. Boat Race is a big varsity event th at happens in 8’s [8-man rowing crew] and annually takes place in Port Alfred.

 

What type of rowing do you currently participate in? I row as part of an 8-man crew and we race down a 6km course. Hopefully, we can win Boat Race for a 9th consecutive year.

 

What would you say has changed about you since joining TuksRowing? What I feel has changed the most is the way I approach things, as well as my maturity levels. In my first few years I was still trying to mature as person and rowing has actually helped me to learn to balance my sports, social life and academics.

 

When you look at TuksRowing do you see diversity? I feel a lot of work has been put into it in the last few years. There are quite a few foundations that are working to introduce rowing to youngsters in places like Germiston for example. I would say there has been a bigger push towards getting more black people like myself involved, and this is definitely manifesting itself with the increasing racial diversity of rowers in the national squad. It is a challenge though [because] rowing is not mainstream.

 

What are your long term and short term goals? In the short term, I would like to win Boat Race again. My ong term goal would be to represent my country at the [2020] Olympics.

 

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