YOUTH ATHLETES SHINE AT WORLD CHAMPS

 
Updated: July 20, 2015

South Africa’s rising athletics stars delivered a superb all-round performance, highlighting the nation’s immense potential by matching their best ever performance at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
After struggling to reach the podium in the first three days of competition, a late surge over the weekend saw the squad climb to fifth place in the final standings with a total of five medals (two gold, two silver and one bronze).
It was the country’s highest placing at the biennial age group showpiece since they finished fifth (with eight medals) at the inaugural event in Bydgoszcz in 1999.
Werner Visser got the ball rolling in style on Saturday, securing the team’s first medal.
Launching a 64.24m heave, Visser dominated the boys’ discus throw final to pocket the gold medal, and his performance was followed by an impressive charge on Sunday’s final day of competition.
Sprinter Kyle Appel was the star performer, grabbing second place in the boys’ 200m final in 20.57 seconds, as he broke Gift Leotlela’s SA youth record by 0.06.
Appel went on to turn out a scorching final leg in the mixed 4x400m relay final to hold off the Canadian team down the home straight for another silver medal.
The South Africans – also including Nikolas Marich, Taylon Bieldt and Renate van Tonder – crossed the line in 3:23.60.
In the boys’ javelin throw final, Paul Botha launched a massive personal best of 78.49m, improving his previous career record by nearly four metres to win gold.
Capping a spectacular last session for the national squad, Nicola de Bruyn earned the bronze medal in the girls’ 200m final in 23.38, just 0.08 outside Evette de Klerk’s 33-year-old SA youth record.
Meanwhile, a total of nine other athletes competed in the finals of their specialist events.
Burger Lambrechts narrowly missed out on a medal in a hard-fought boys’ shot put final, taking fourth place with a 20.97m heave.
Gift Leotlela (boys’ 200m, 20.86), Theuns Ehlers (boys’ 800m, 1:49.32) and Hercules van Vuuren (boys’ javelin throw, 74.68m) all finished fifth in their respective finals.
In the girls’ javelin throw, Anneke Germishuys produced a best effort of 53.10m to grab sixth position, and Yolandi Stander was seventh in the girls’ discus throw with a 47.85m heave.
Patrick Duvenage was the only SA athlete to compete in two individual finals, taking seventh position in the boys’ discus throw (58.71m) and ninth spot in the shot put (19.50m).
Morne van As tumbled down the home straight in the boys’ 400m hurdles final, and while he got back up and finished the race, he ended seventh in 1:10.74.
Pierre Vermaak started well but faded dramatically in the boys’ 10 000m walk and did not finish the race.

* Results of all finals are available in our Results section