Young athlete Thabang Mosiako will compete at the African Championships in Algeria on Saturday, despite sustaining a head injury during an attack by a group of students believed to attend North-West University's Potchefstroom campus.
On Wednesday, he had mixed feelings about the athletics meeting.
"My preparation did not go according to plan. Even though I'm in good shape, the attack was a huge setback. I never thought this moment would come, because when I was in the hospital, I was overcome with despondency, and I had already given up on the Algeria trip," he told the Potchefstroom Herald.
Mosiako, who is the South African 5,000m champion, suffered a head injury during the attack about a month ago, when his head was bashed repeatedly against the ground.
Mosiako was admitted to Potchefstroom Hospital with head trauma.
The athlete says he was able to recover because of the overwhelming support he received from South Africans, his training partners and his friends, his coach, Springs Phakathi, and Lindiwe Suttle, who started the Thabang Mosiako Fund to pay for his medical bills.
"It was an uphill battle, and in some instances the migraines got worse. But I forged ahead. There was a time when I felt so helpless that I had to call Prof Fika Janse van Rensburg. He called the ambulance and I had to be rushed to the hospital, because I could no longer afford the medication," he said.
Thabang will take part in the 10km cross-country on Saturday, and says he is "aiming to be in the top 20 – but it would be a bonus to be in the top 15".