Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
YOUTH STARS GEAR UP FOR WORLD CHAMPS
The nation’s Under-17 athletes displayed spectacular form in the build-up to the World Youth Championships, producing solid all-round performances at the SA Sub-Youth, Youth, Junior and Under-23 Championships in Bloemfontein at the weekend.
Three SA youth records fell during the three-day event and a total of 72 athletes achieved the qualifying standards in their respective disciplines for the global age group showpiece in Cali, Colombia, in July.
Race walkers Pierre Vermaak and Mizan Viljoen were in impressive form.
Vermaak clocked 44:24.43 in the 10 000m walk, smashing his own national youth record by more than two minutes, while Viljoen got the event off to a cracking start on the opening day, covering the girls’ 5 000m final in 24:39.10 to improve Anel Oosthuizen’s SA mark by over 40 seconds.
Later on day one, Marga Cumming had launched a 58.19m effort in the U-17 hammer throw to break Bianca Blom’s national standard of 57.13m.
A number of other athletes also made their presence felt, as they staked early claims among the medal favourites for the World Championships.
Gift Leotlela and Kyle Appel spearheaded the charge in the sprint events, with a total of 26 athletes achieving the required standards for the global spectacle in the boys’ and girls’ 100m, 200m and 400m disciplines.
Leotlela charged to victory in the boys’ 100m final in 10.41 seconds, just 0.05 outside Leigh Julius’ 13-year-old SA youth record, with Appel taking second place in 10.59.
Appel turned the tables in the 200m dash, however, grabbing gold in 20.74 to miss the national mark set by Leotlela in Pretoria last month by 0.11.
Leotlela settled for the silver medal in 20.76.
Meanwhile rising hurdles star Taylon Bieldt was in superb form, setting a personal best of 13.27 seconds in the youth girls’ 100m hurdles final.
It was the fastest performance by a South African U-17 athlete in 21 years, as she missed Ilse Ras’ long-standing national record by 0.03.
Bieldt went on to set another career best of 59.81 to win gold in the 400m hurdles.
Patrick Duvenage was the standout performer in the youth field events, launching a massive 20.62m effort in the boys’ shot put final.
His impressive heave lifted him to third place in the all-time SA U-17 rankings behind Janus Robberts and JP Hoffman.
Duvenage also bagged the gold medal in the discus throw, again proving his versatility with a best attempt of 63.34m.
Athletics Gauteng North dominated the annual championships across the four age groups, finishing top of the standings with 102 medals (45 gold, 26 silver and 35 bronze).
Central Gauteng Athletics raked in more medals, with a total of 108, but settled for second place in the final table with fewer victories (33 gold, 42 silver and 33 bronze).
* Full results and medal tables are available in our Results section