Athlete Profile: Antoinette van der Merwe
Antoinette van der Merwe (center) powering her way to victory at the Puma School of Speed in Ruimsig. Photo by Tobias Ginsberg
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It is all systems to for the fourth-leg of the Puma School of Speed series at the Bestmed Tuks Athletics Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday.
The School of Speed series which was launched in 2016 is an innovation to discover young talent across the country between the ages of 14 and 19 years old.
Among the top contenders is Eldoraigne High School’s Antoinette van der Merwe. The young speedster will compete in the girls under-19 100m sprints and hurdles events respectively.
Antionette from Centurion has had a great start to the season after she won the women’s 150m sprints at the USN Classic Shootout clocking 17.56seconds at Höerskool Noordheuwel in Krugersdorp earlier this month.
Antionette went up against the likes of the SA u18 400m hurdles and triple record holder Gontse Morake, Marli Viljoen who won the girls u20 400m champion at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl last year and Caroline Mosima who was the girls u18 200m champion at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Cape Town in 2017.
In her first outing of the season, Antoinette claimed gold in the girls u19 110m hurdles and 200m sprints clocking 14.05 and 24.61 seconds respectively at the School of Speed at the Ruimsig Stadium in Johannesburg earlier this month.
The youngster said her season is going as planned.
“I am happy with my season is going, especially my sprinting times. However, there is always room for improvement. The atmosphere at the School of Speed brings out the best in every athlete. The USN Classic Shootout was amazing because I went up against quality competition,” she said.
Last year, Antionette had a season to remember. She finished in second place in the girls’ u18 100m hurdles clocking a personal best of 13.46 seconds at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships. A few weeks later, Antionette followed that up with a up with another gold in the same event at the CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in Boksburg. In December, she took the gold medals in the 100m hurdles and ran a PB of 23.90 seconds in the 200m sprints at the AUSC Region 5 u20 Games in Botswana. She was also part of SA’S 4X100m relay team that took gold.
“Botswana was a highlight but also making new friends. The visual impaired athletes made a huge impression on me regarding their dedications, endurance, and love for athletics. It is something I will always remember,” she said
Written by Keagan Mitchell