African Youth Games review
Gontse Morake, SA u18 400m hurdler. Photo by Roger Sedres/Image SA/ Gallo Images.
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Team South African put up a fine performance in the third edition of the African Youth Games, in Algiers, in Algeria, that ended on Saturday July 28.
Despite only taking part in four (athletics, sevens rugby, archery and hockey fives) of the 28 disciplines at the Games, South Africa finished in fifth place on the medal standings with 31 medals that included 15 gold, 12 silver and four bronze.
While the athletics team could have not asked for a better outing after they topped the track and field medal standings, bagging 26 medals (12 gold,11 silver and three bronze).
Team SA was led by Athletics Central North West’s Kayla van der Berg whose consistent season continued clocking 13.48 seconds to take victory in the Girls’ under-18 100m hurdles. Van der Bergh who was crowned champion at the ASA and CAA Southern Region Championships in April has kept up the country’s great display over the 100m hurdles following the in-form national record holder Rikenette Steenkamp gold medal performance at the inaugural Athletics World Cup, in London, in the United Kingdom, earlier this month.
Athletics Gauteng North’s Lindokuhle Ghora and Gontse Morake kept up SA’s fine form in the hurdles event after they won gold in the one-lap hurdles event clocking 52.18 and 60.39 seconds. Morake followed that up with a second gold of the competition leaping her way to 12.57m in the triple jump event.
Western Province Athletics Luke Davids stormed his way to victory in the 100m sprints to take the title in 10.34 seconds. However, the Boys’ under-18 ASA 100m and 200m champion had to settle for second place in the 200m sprints clocking 21.04 seconds which saw him leave the competition with one gold and silver.
Athletics North West North’s Jano Esterhuizen was in fine form in the javelin event, following his first place finished with a distance of 72.82m. This has been the third time this season that the youngster has thrown over 72metres.
Boland’s Nikolai van Huysteen produced a staller performance to win the gold medal in the pole event with a height of 4.70m. Van Huysteen came into the competition in a good vein of form after he won the gold medal at the ASA and CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in April. A month earlier he jumped a personal best of five meters to finish second behind teammate Valco van Wyk at the ASA Senior Championships.
The ASA and Southern Region U18 shot-put and discuss champion Dane Roets would have been smiling after she won the gold medal in the shot-put event with a heave of 15.97m and through a personal best of 43.42m in the discus event to pick up the silver medal.
Other athletes to pick up gold at the African Youth Games were Jason Tito (long jump), Francois Prinsloo(discuss), Marina Swanepoel (5000m race walk) and Bianca Erasmus (high jump).
Athletes who took part at the African Youth Games will hope they did enough to get selected for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, later this year, as the the African showpiece served as a qualification opportunity.
Written by Keagan Mitchell