Backtrack Sports AOW (Athlete of the Week), 29 January- 4 February powered by TomTom: Luke Davids
The rainbow nation’s finest athletes started the season the way they finished the previous one. The times clocked and distances thrown, leaped or jumped at this time of the season are world class, and that can only mean thing: the athletes are hungry! Let’s have a look at some of the top performances who have been nominated for this week’s AOW award:
1. Pieter Conradie – the South African 400m champion bounced back from injury late last year and managed to start his season with a very fast 1:16:03 600m in the rain on 3 February. The Potchefstroom-based athlete is clearly in the shape of his life and it’s only the start of the season.
2. Retshidisitswe Bafana Mlenga – the world u/18 200m champion enjoyed a successful transition to the boy’s u/20 200m when he cruised to a 20.88 victory at the Puma School of Speed competition on 29 January. He climbed up to the number two spot in the world rankings with this time.
3. Malesela Onkgopotse Senona – another man who bounced back from injury was Tuks sensation Malisela Senona. He opened his season with a 10.42 for the 100m in Ruimsig. He is the athlete to beat in 2018, and remember the way he started the season is just the beginning.
4. Cassidy Williamson – Williamson comes like a breath of fresh air. Fresh out of the blocks she sprinted to a 11.45 wind-aided (+2.9) 100m, and she also dipped under 24 for the 200m, making her one of the athletes to look out for this season.
5. Jason Tito the boy is big and powerful, and when he is in his element- getting ready to jump- his personality becomes even bigger. Tito has been in a class of his own in the boy’s u/15 long and triple jump since last year. Boasting with a personal best of 7.48m at the age of 15, what or who will be able to stop him because he started off his season with a 7.32m jump, also the Puma School of Speed competition
6. LJ Van Zyl will go down as one of the best athletes to ever hit SA and his level of excellence and consistency is to thank for that. He has dominated the local hurdle scene for more than a decade, and it seems like it is set to continue. At the USN Classic Shootout 200m hurdles race the Pretoria-based athlete overcame the last barrier first and went on to win the rarely-run race in 22.74!
7. Orazio Cremona – This is another major comeback performance to take note off. Rewind three to four years and Cremona only rarely threw over 20m in the men’s Shot Put, but this week he started the season with a 20.66m throw! The big man who over 21m last year had clearly put out a message…
8. Zakithi Nene – Last year he was the surprise winner of the South African 400m junior title, but now that he is almost a homemade name, expectation becomes the name of the game, but he easily lives up to expectations. The KZN-star opened his one-lap specialist event clocking 46.00 at a meeting in Pretoria, and that’s surely a sign of improvement
But AOW goes to Luke Davids – like Conradie, Davids also made a comeback from injury. Although he represented SA at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas last year, Cape Town’s Luke Davids was never a man for the limelight, but things are to change this year. Davids opened his 200m campaign with 21.07 world u/18 200m lead time at a meeting in Cape Town making clear his intentions for the season. Luke’s performances make him the Backtrack Sports AOW for this week.
Photo by Gallo Images