South African long-distance running champion Thabang Mosiako's career is at risk after a suspected racially charged attack left him hospitalised last week.

The 22-year-old 5000m national record holder and fellow student athlete Rantso Mokopane were attacked outside North West University's campus in South African city Potchefstroom, about 120km south-west of Johannesburg.

South African news outlet The Star reported the search was on for group of "about 10 white youths" in connection to the attack, thought to be students of the university.

Mokopane posted a photo on Facebook after the attack, and said: "4th time being attacked in and around the NWU Campus and this time around my training partner severely injured and resulting to a head trauma which may lead to lifelong seizures.


"I always refrain from racial issues, but on all those 4 attacks it has always been white men engulfing and injuring non-whites without saddens me that even police and protection services fail to protect where needed."

Mosiako had since been released from hospital and was recovering at home.

Speaking to The Star, Mokopane said the altercation erupted at a cafe near the campus, after Mokopane asked three men to stop insulting the cashier.

"When I went outside they were waiting for me. They started hitting us, even when we fell to the ground," Mokopane said.

He said the initial attack stopped when police showed up, but the police would not offer help to the pair.

"When the police came, I told them these guys are assaulting us. But they didn't listen to our story. We understood that they wouldn't help us and ran away."

They were then attacked closer to the campus, and Mosiako was knocked unconscious. He was rushed to hospital with head injuries.

Mosiako was due to travel to Algeria next month for the African Championships, however Mokpane told The Star his training partner was worried he wouldn't be able to perform as well going forward.

"He's nervous about (the prospect of) not performing. I can see he's stressing a lot," Mokopane said.

A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened, however police said at the weekend the attackers were yet to be identified.

To get the day's top sports stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here