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The Corner Flag: Dear Amy and Deidrè, you are heroes

“Participating in the Olympic Games is an incredible experience for every athlete."

Defending Olympics 800m gold medallist Athing Mu left the USA Olympics track and field trials on June 24 in tears when her bid to make the US team heading to #Paris2024 ended.

She would have defended the title she won at Tokyo 2020, but she finished the women’s 800m final last after tripping and falling mid-way through the first lap.

Mu is no doubt one of the top female athletic stars in the world and it was not surprising to see her in tears after realising she won’t be part of this global spectacle.

The Olympic Games are about dreams, pride, strength, and sheer willpower. They are a focal point in the career of any athlete trying to achieve greatness.

Mu was shattered, but it must have been equally devastating for local badminton pair Amy Ackerman and Deidrè Jordaan, who are not part of Team SA after working their socks off trying to qualify for the Games.

The pair won tournament after tournament to lead the women’s doubles rankings in Africa, but they could not break into the top 50 in the world to qualify, as required by the Road to Paris (RTP) programme.

To make the Olympics requires a huge amount of dedication, determination and years of hard work.

Amy and Deidrè sacrificed their time and energy and traversed different continents since last May, trying to qualify for the Games as part of the RTP.

In a 2020 column for the Guardian, the Olympian and IOC President Thomas Bach wrote participating in these Games is priceless because you are part of something bigger.

He wrote, “Participating in the Olympic Games is an incredible experience for every athlete. But it is also humbling when you realise you are part of something bigger. You are part of an event that unites the world”.

The Benonians wanted this ‘incredible experience’ and to be ‘part of something bigger’.

It is every athlete’s dream to be part of the Olympics. Although they didn’t qualify, I am sure it is rewarding to know they gave it their all and must feel motivated to push themselves even harder for Los Angeles 2028.

They are heroes, and their relentless pursuit to achieve greatness has inspired many young girls and the Eastern Gauteng Badminton Association (EGBA) youngsters at John Barrable Hall to work hard to break the glass ceiling.

Sascoc has announced Team SA and Ekurhuleni will be represented by Atlasville resident Dillan Schaap, who will be the coach of the badminton sensation Johanita Scholtz and national 400m champion Lythe Pillay.

The Games start on July 26 and conclude on August 11.

Also Read: The Corner Flag: Bowlers, you humble me – thank you

Also Read: The Corner Flag: Disability sport deserves better


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