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The 71-year-old sprint king of Limpopo

By Nkhensani Mthombeni

Freddy Rikhotso, 71, broke his personal best record with a time of 28.08 seconds to win the 200m race on Wednesday at the Limpopo Golden Games at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

The win makes Rikhotso the fastest man over 70 in Limpopo.

But winning the race is not enough — he aims to win the national Golden Games title in Mpumalanga next month.

In 2019 in Port Elizabeth, he won the national title in the 60-69 age category with a time of 33.06 seconds. In 2020 the event was suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and last year he came second at the national Golden Games in Gauteng.

The Golden Games aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle among the elderly.

“I’m highly excited with my performance,” said Rikhotso. “All credit goes to my coach, Gladstone Shabangu, who recommended that we change our training strategy, and that has worked in our favour.

“My wish is to do well in the national games and hopefully win gold.”

Rikhotso told Scrolla.Africa what amazes him most is the fact that he seems to get quicker as he gets older.

His running journey started as a young boy at Mafarana Primary School near Tzaneen, where he was also an athletics champion.

He is also a veteran news anchor at Munghana Lonene FM and has written 18 Xitsonga books, which are mostly used in the school syllabus.

In 2015 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Literature for his contribution to the development of the Xitsonga language and in 2021 received a Lifetime Achievement Award by Vutivi i Ndzhaka for his contribution to Xitsonga literature.

After retiring in 2013, he went back to his childhood passion for running and was pleased to find that he still had the talent.

Pictured above: Freddy Rikhotso.

Image source: Supplied