Rikenette Steenkamp, a hurdler from South Africa, was well on her way to being one of the most accomplished athletes of her time.
Steenkamp made the decision when she was just 6 years-old to be an athlete. By the time she was 22, she had become internationally recognized in track and field and there was no doubt her career choice was leading towards greatness. She imagined herself running forever—but then in 2016, when doctors discovered an extra bone in her ankle, it seemed that her life as a champion had come to an end.
The more hurdles she jumped over, the more pain she felt in her ankle, eventually leading her to undergo surgery to have the extra bone removed. The surgery resulted in two years that were so painful that the star athlete spiraled into a crippling depression.
“I felt like I was left behind by the world and forgotten,” she told Beautiful News.
Despite this setback, however, Steenkamp was determined to run again—even if she had to learn how to walk again, first.
“You will come back. You will run again,” Steenkamp constantly told herself. “Challenges don’t prevent you from your calling. It prepares you for it.”
After a grueling and seemingly endless rehabilitation process, she returned to the sport in 2017—and she was better than ever. Even though all her competitors were training while she was forced to rest, she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from becoming the champion she knew she wanted to be. She began a record-breaking comeback that the sport had not witnessed in decades.
Steenkamp took first place in every race she ran after her injury. She broke the South African Women’s 100-meter hurdle record set in 1998. Only a few weeks later, she beat her own time at 12.81 seconds, setting the national 100-meter record.
To what does she attribute the astonishing comeback? “Nothing can keep you from your destiny,” she told Beautiful News.
(WATCH the incredible interview below)
Be Sure And Share The Incredible Story With Your Friends – Photo by Beautiful News South Africa