Looking Back u20

Looking Back u20

Athletics Gauteng North’s Zeney van der Walt in action in the girls’ under-20 400m hurdles at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships, in Paarl, earlier this year. Photo by Keagan Mitchell

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With the 2018 track and field season done and dusted, we take a look back at some of our top under-20 athletes that made headlines.

 

Zeney van der Walt

The 18-year-old Zeney van der Walt stole the show at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) Senior Championships by breaking the girls’ under-20 400m hurdles record that stood for 35 years by Myrthe Bothma. The youngster ran a personal best time of 55.05 seconds to finish second behind Wenda Nel. This was only the start of things to come, having won the girls’ under-20 400m hurdles titles at the ASA and the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships, in April. She saved the best for last, grabbing the gold medal in the 400m hurdles event at the International of Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World U20 Championships.

Meike Strydom

Athletics South Western Districts Mieke Strydom was in a class of her own in the girls’ under-20 shot put event this season. She took the gold medals at the ASA and CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships, in April. A few months later, she finished fifth at the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Finland. In her most recent out she took the gold medal at the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 U20 Games, in Botswana.

Sokwakhana Zazini

The world U18 400m hurdles champion Sokwakhana Zazini had a staller season, from taking silver medal in the one-lap hurdles event at the ASA Senior Championships, to taking the gold medal in the 400m sprints and hurdles events at the ASA and CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in April. Like his female counter-part Van der Walt, he to saved the best for last, taking the gold medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Finland, in July.

Silusapho Dingiswayo

Eastern Cape-born Silusapho Dingiswayo took the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 110m hurdles at the ASA and CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in April. The young speedster was also part of the SA team that took part in the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Finland, in July. Despite not having the best Championships, he did make in up by running a personal best of 10.36 and 20.93 seconds in the 100m and 200m sprints to take the gold medal at Region 5 Under-20 Games, in Gaborone, Botswana, earlier this month.

Thando Dlodlo

Central Gauteng Athletics Thando Dlodlo started off his season in fine style by running a new boys’ under-20 SA record of 10.11 seconds in the semi-finals of the 100m sprints at the ASA Senior Championships, in Pretoria, earlier this year. Dlodlo went on to take a bronze medal in the 200m sprints running a personal best of 20.41 seconds, while he had to settle in the same position in the

100m finals. Dlodlo fine form continue, to take the gold medal in the 200m sprints to stop the clock at 21.00 seconds at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships but took the bronze in the 100m sprints. He then went on to do the double when he finished in first place in the 100m and 200m sprints at the CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships. However, he was unable to repeat these performances at the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Finland, in July.

Thembo Monareng

Although he did not have the best of competitions at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships, in Paarl, back in April, Monareng did bounce back, taking a gold medal in the 100m sprints, clocking a personal best of 10.18 seconds, at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) track and field championships, at the DP de Villers track, in Sasolburg, a few weeks later. Monareng dominated the competition from start to finish. From running 10.32 seconds in his heat, to 10.24 seconds in the semi-final and running a PB in the final. Despite missing out on a medal, Monareng still had a great outing at the IAAF World U20 Championships to take fourth place in the 100m finals, clocking 10.23 seconds and missing out on a podium finish by 0.01. He then ended his season off with a silver medal in the 100m sprints at the Region 5 U20 Games, in Botswana, earlier this month.

Breyton Poole

Western Province Athletics Breyton Poole had a good season in the high jump event, from getting a taste of senior competition at the Commonwealth Games to taking the bronze medal in the high jump event at the IAAF World U20 Championships. Poole then followed that up a gold medal in the high jump event with a height of 2.18m at the Region 5 U20 Games, in Botswana, earlier this month.

Anro van Eeden

Boland’s Anro van Eeden had a brilliant season with the javelin besides the hiccup he had at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland in July. In April he through a massive personal best of 77.59m to take the gold medal at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl. This result saw him move to number one on the IAAF rankings for the boys’ under-20 javelin event and two weeks later he won the gold medal at the CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in Boksburg. He came into the IAAF World U20 Championships as the favourite but was unable to finish on the podium.

Kayle Blignaut

From winning the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 shot put event at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships in Paarl in April to throwing a new SA U20 record of 21.65m at the CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships two weeks later. Kayle Blignaut saved the best for last by shattering his own record with a distance of 22.07m to pick up SA first gold medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland in July. Earlier this month, the youngster picked up gold in the shot put event with a distance of 20.90m at the Region 5 U20 Championships, in Botswana.

 

Written by Keagan Mitchell