Region 5 Female Preview
Free State-born Nicole Louw took gold in the girls’ under-18 1500m event, at the ASA U18 and U20 Championships, in Paarl, earlier this year.
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She is not only on top of her game in the cross country circuit but also in the track and field arena where she has been crowned Athletics South Africa (ASA) Champion in her respective age group for the past three consecutive years in the 1500m event.
Meet 17-year-old Nicole Louw who is reaping the rewards after consistent performances in recent years. The Free State-born athlete will compete in the 1500m long distance event, at the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under-20 Games in Gaborone, Botswana, next month. Louw is among a 55-member track and field team that forms part of a 220-member SA squad that will compete in nine sporting codes at the Region 5 Games.
The Grade 11 pupil at Rhenish Girls’ High School in Stellenbosch said it is a honour to represent South Africa. “The plan is to go for gold but most importantly to enjoy the competition and gain valuable experience,” said the long-distance specialist who has had an impressive journey thus far. Last year, Louw finished in fifth place in the 1500m long distance event clocking 4mins33sec at the International of Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World U18 Championships in Kenya. She followed that up with a bronze medal in the 1500m event at the African Youth Games, in Algeria, in July and was part of the SA team that competed at the Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aries, Argentina, in October. The former Vaalpark Primary School pupil in the Free State also represented the country at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda, last year.
Louw said she these are just a few of her fondest memories and she hopes to continue making more. “It has taken hard work, self belief and prayer to get where I am today. My achievements are a great confidence booster and makes me hungrier for more,” said Louw who follows in the footsteps of her parents Rudolph and Anne who were both athletes in their younger stays and sister Michaela. In other female action, middle distance runners Prudence Sekgodiso and Carmie Prinsloo will also compete at the Region 5 Games. The duo was both part of the SA team that took part in the Youth Olympic Games.
Despite not having the best of outings at the Youth Olympics, Gontse Morake will look to bounce back at the Region 5 Games. The lanky athlete is after all, the SA U18 400m hurdles and triple jump record holder. Athletics South Western Districts Meike Strydom has had a good season. Strydom finished in fifth place at the IAAF World U20 Championships in the shot put event, in Finland, in July to taking bronze in the same event at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) African Senior Championships in Nigeria. She will hope to finish the year in fine style.
Written by Keagan Mitchell