TRIO STEAL LIMELIGHT ON DAY ONE

 
Updated: March 31, 2016

Sprinter Gift Leotlela, hammer thrower Tharina van der Walt and race walker Mizaan Viljoen were the stand-out performers on Thursday, as South Africa’s top age group athletes flaunted their talent on day one of the SA Sub-Youth, Youth, Junior and Under-23 Championships in Germiston.
Leotlela was in spectacular form in the U-20 men’s 100m dash, clocking 10.21 seconds in the semifinals, just 0.02 outside the SA junior record held by Akani Simbine.
The 17-year-old Gauteng North speedster, who set the national youth mark of 10.20 last season, achieved Athletics South Africa’s A-standard qualifying mark of 10.23 for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in July.
He led two other athletes under the B-standard qualifier of 10.55, with Athletics North West North sprinter Phemelo Matlhabe crossing the line in 10.42 and Ethan Noble of Western Province clocking 10.53.
Malesela Senona (Gauteng North) also put up his hand in the youth boys’ semifinals, covering the short sprint in 10.49.
In the women’s 100m heats, Tamzin Thomas of Western Province (11.59), Madia Ehlers of Gauteng North (11.64), Jean-Marie Vermeulen of Griqualand West (11.74) and Cassidy Williamson of KwaZulu-Natal (11.74) all dipped under the B-qualifying standard of 11.80.
The 100m finals in the various age divisions will be held on Friday’s second day of competition.
Earlier, Van der Walt had smashed the national youth girls’ hammer throw record, launching a 61.18m effort to earn the gold medal.
Her Free State teammate Marinda Greyling (60.80) also bettered the previous SA mark of 58.19m set by Marga Cumming last year.
Viljoen, meanwhile, won the youth women’s 5 000m walk, setting a national record of 25:17.69 as she chipped 0.81 off the two-year-old best held by Bianca Esterhuizen.
Both records remain unofficial until ratified by athletics authorities.
In other events, Jeanelle Griesel of Gauteng North clocked 54.68 in the junior women’s 400m heats, dipping under the B-standard of 55.25 for the global championships, while fellow Gauteng North one-lap specialist Abongile Nkunkumana (47.22) and Central Gauteng’s Derrick Mokaleng (47.24) went under the required men’s standard of 47.70.
Distance runner Ikageng Gaorekwe (Central Gauteng) also achieved the B-standard in his event (9:10.00), winning the junior men’s 3 000m steeplechase in 9:09.82.
Gaorekwe was ranked 15th in the world last year with his 8:37.51 personal best set in Stellenbosch, and only five of the men ranked ahead of him remain eligible for the Under-20 global showpiece this season, with nine of them having moved up to senior level.
He will need to find another gear, however, if he hopes to achieve the stringent ASA A-standard of 8:32.00, in order to ensure his place in the team for Bydgoszcz, with B-qualifiers not guaranteed to be selected by the national federation.

* Results of all finals are available in our Results section