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28 January 2021 | in FISU Athletes

Former WUG bronze medallist hopes to make Olympic dream a reality

South Africans the world over are celebrating up-and-coming athlete Gardeo Isaacs. The 400m athlete draws his inspiration from Olympic gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk, in hopes of realising one of his biggest dreams: competing at the Olympic Games later this year.


Gardeo Isaacs in green and gold for South Africa

The 22-year-old has been hard at work and says, “Training is going good so far. I think it’s every athlete’s dream to compete at the Olympics one day so I will try my best to make that dream become a reality this year.”


He also attests to not comparing himself with others and rather trusting your own journey: “The biggest lesson I have learnt so far is to have patience in your own process and to not compare your journey to anyone else's, because everyone’s timing is different,” he says.


The final year BCom Management Accounting student from Stellenbosch University (Maties) cruised to first place in the 400m at the last Varsity Athletics meet in 2019 where he finished with a time of 45.70. Later that year, he went on to grab bronze (45.89) for South Africa at the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade in Italy.


Isaacs has gone from strength to strength since then, and is thankful for the role that University Sport South Africa (USSA) played in his progress. He says USSA has allowed him to grow as an athlete through the years.


"USSA definitely played a big role in my development and progression. It provides athletes the platform to compete against the best athletes in the country. Competing at the World University Games in 2019 proved to me that I am capable of competing against some of the best athletes in the world," Isaacs tells FISU confidently.


Isaacs, who hails from Parow in Cape Town, says his love for sport comes from his grandfather. “When I was younger I would spend hours watching sports with my grandpa on the television. I started doing sports in primary school and continued throughout my journey in high school. I tried out various sports in school and although I was not the fastest on the track I knew that with proper training I could be. I like the individual aspect of athletics, the fact that your performance only relies on yourself and on the work you put in on a daily basis,” he explains.


Gardeo Isaacs competing for Maties at the Varsity Athletics competitionSport is a family affair as his inspiration and motivation also stems from his parents: “They are constantly motivating me and encouraging me to do better on and off the track,” he adds.


The Maties athlete was also impacted by the lockdown in South Africa due to COVID-19. Having been in a familiar routine of being on the track and in the gym, Isaacs calls it “one of the toughest experiences” for him. However, he mentions that the positives he took out of it was that he was able to focus on his studies as well as improve his mental health.


With competitions hopefully around the corner, Isaacs looks forward to the USSA Championships and the South African Senior Championships: “I am quite excited to get back to competing again. As of now there are no confirmed events but I am positive that things will return to a new normal and that it will be safe for us to compete again.”


“My plan for the future is to grow as an athlete and to become the best version of myself on the track. I would also like to represent South Africa at the Olympics and at the World Championships in the 400m,” he concludes.


We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for Gardeo Isaacs, and we are backing this rising star all the way to the top!