CAPE TOWN – The euphoria of becoming a Youth Olympic champion can be overwhelming, especially for someone who hails from an area that is sometimes in the news for the wrong reasons.
And Luke Davids was in such a state with all the attention that he has been getting following his victory in the 100m at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on Monday that he just put his phone down to get away from it all.
But despite all the good wishes from back home becoming “just a bit much”, the 17-year-old speedster – who ran an astonishing 10.15 seconds, which equalled the Under-18 world record, but is not recognised because of an illegal wind reading – still remembered where he comes from.
Talking to IOL Sport from Argentina this week, Davids was asked about what an inspirational figure he can become for people from his suburb of Belhar, and the sprinter spoke about how to deal with the difficulties of life in the area.
“Yes, that’s the main goal (giving hope), especially in Belhar. I’m trying to be the change in Belhar, to inspire the young, so that we have a better youth,” Davids said.
“When people hear Belhar, then they think about drug addicts and such stuff, and people who drop out of school.
“So, it’s not your circumstances, but what you make out of it. I chose to make a difference.”
Davids is not the first modern-day sporting talent to come out of Belhar, which proves that anyone with real ambition can get to the highest levels.
Recently-capped Springbok lock Marvin Orie comes from Belhar, and so does long-serving Bok physiotherapist René Naylor.
Davids has enjoyed the support from his school, Parow High, where he is in Grade 10.
“They have supported me really well. I’ve had messages from the teachers and the principal, wishing me luck and such stuff. They’re behind me and backing me, so Parow have played a big role in supporting me.”
Congratulations to the South Africa team wrapping up their #YouthOlympics games in Buenos Aires (photos from @TeamSA18) with medals for Amber Schlebusch, Ruan Lange, Michael Houlie, Luke Davids, Dune Coetzee, Hannah Garton and Dane Roets #YOG2018 pic.twitter.com/AD12HbaqQ3