The young skater said she planned on taking part in the next Olympic Games taking place in 2024 in Paris, France, adding that she felt that the skating contingent could be bigger.
BOIPELO Awuah, the injured champion street skater, arrived home from the Tokyo Olympic Games to a rousing welcome by her Northern Cape High schoolmates and a media throng at the Kimberley Airport on Friday morning.
The 15 year-old skater, accompanied by her parents and an assortment of Northern Cape government personnel, including the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Abraham Vosloo and his colleague at the department of Sport, Arts and Culture Desiree Fienies, were on hand as well.
Addressing the media, Boipelo said she was released from camp on instruction of the team doctor who examined her and discovered that she had sustained a pelvic fracture during day two of a training session.
“I fell during a session on the board. I was slightly hurt but continued nonetheless. Three hours after that the pain got worse,” she said.
The young Olympian spoke about her experience on her way to and in Tokyo, and started off by explaining that she met her Team SA companions at the Doha international airport in Qatar a week ago and from there they flew to Japan.
“We arrived at like 7pm in Tokyo. We did the paperwork which took us until 2am in the morning. We then drove for two hours to the Olympic village and got there by 4am.
“I slept and later that day went about exploring the village. I did my first practice session the next day without any hassles. On the second day I got injured in the morning but continued with my routine. I kind of slipped and hurt my pelvic bone when I landed on the pavement,” she said.
“Three hours after my fall the pain got worse (and) my mum referred me to a doctor.
“I was taken to a small hospital inside the athletes village where the team doctor examined me. The X-rays showed that I was injured. The doctor advised that it was best that I do not continue,” Boipelo added.
The bubbly youngster shared some delightful moments with the press and told of how she collected Olympic memorabilia at the village for keepsakes.
“I brought home Tokyo Olympic Games branded gadgets such as bottles and scarves as well as pins from different countries, it was amazing,” she said enthusiastically.
Boipleo also shared that she too, like other athletes in the village, was thrilled with the Olympic Games branded linen and helped herself to some of it as well.
The young skater said she planned on taking part in the next Olympic Games taking place in 2024 in Paris, France, adding that she felt that the skating contingent could be bigger. “I would love for more South African female skaters to be there in Paris alongside me,” she told the press. “I feel like we do have the talent but we lack the exposure,” she added.
It was obvious at the airport that Boipelo was clearly still in pain. Standing up and fielding media queries she politely declined a government official’s invitation to sit down, indicating that it would cause her discomfort.
MEC Fienies handed the athlete a bouquet of sweet goodies and wished her a speedy recovery. Fienies explained that though the department was not a sponsor of the athlete they were hoping to encourage the development of the discipline.
“We are trying to support her (Boipelo) in this skateboarding sport. We are trying to encourage the growth of more sports clubs,” Fienies said.
“As things stand (street skating) is very much an individual sport. There are, however, structures in some parts of the various districts.
“There are as yet no children taking active part in the sport in some places but we are trying to introduce them to the sport. We have clinics in the different districts from which we hope to formalise them,” the MEC said.