School of Speed looking back

School of Speed looking back

The atmposphere, the emotions, the passion captured at the Puma School of Speed in Pretoria. Photo by Stillwater Sports/Tobias Ginsberg

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of BackTrack or EC Active

With just a few weeks left before the first of five Puma School of Speed Series meets around the country, we take a look back at who made headlines last year.

PUC McArthur Stadium, Potchefstroom

Athletics Gauteng North’s Rose Xeyi began her season off in fine style at the School of Speed clocking 12.28 seconds to win the 100m title. Xeyi went on to be crowned champion in the same event at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships, in April. She went on to finish her season with a silver medal in the 100m sprints at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 under-20 Games in Botswana, last month. The SA under-18 400m sprints champion from Central Gauteng Athletics Carla Hatting won the 200m event clocking 24.99 seconds, while the SA under-18 400m hurdles and triple jump record holder Gontse Morake had to settle for second place. Sifiso Miya was in a class of his own to take the gold medal in the boys’ under-17 100m sprints clocking 10.79 seconds. Although no wind was indicated, Robert de Villiers ran a great season opener of 03:57.09 in the boys’ under-19 1500m event. In March, De Villiers went on to become the SA schools’ champion in the 1500m event. In high jump action, Yvonne Robson who took the silver meal at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships finished first in the girls’ under-19 event, with a height of 1.80m.

Ruimsig Stadium, Johannesburg

The boys’ under-19 100m sprints was one of the highlights at this meet, as Senona Malesela, Thembo Monareng and Ruben Els all won their heats. However, it was Malesela who came out tops to win the 100m final. The World under-20 400m hurdles Champion Zeney van der Walt showed her versatility when she took the gold medal in the 200m sprints clocking 24. 61seconds. Retshidisitswe Mlenga who was crowned the world under-18 200m champion in 2017 was in fine early season form to stop the clock at 20.88 seconds in the half-lap event to grab gold. Lindokuhle Gora and Marli Viljoen who both represented SA at various competitions last year, finished in first place in the boys’ under-17 and girls’ under-19 400m sprint events. The 2018 SA under-20 3000m champion Simonay Weitsz was in a class of her own to take the gold medal in the girls’ under-19 800m event. In field action Sifiso Miya showed his versatility when he took the gold medal in the boys’ under-17 long jump event. Miya went on to take the silver medal in the triple jump at the African Youth Games and ended his season off with gold in the long and triple jump events at the Region 5 under-20 Games, in Botswana, last month.

Kings Park Stadium, Durban

KwaZulu-Natal had a number of youngsters who took part in the third-leg of the School of Speed that were finalists in the long-distance events at the South African High Schools’ Championships in March.

Thapelo Ramokhoase grabbed gold in the boys’ under-15 1500m steeplechase event at the School of Speed and went on to finish in the same position in the 1500m event the SA schools’ championships. Fanelesibonge Mabaso finished in first place in the boys’ under-15 400m event and went on to grab the bronze medal in the same event at the SA schools’ championships. In female action, Cerian Fourie and Smangaliso Madlala who both won their respective events at the School of Speed (girls’ under-15 800m and 1500m) were both finalists in these events at the SA schools’ championships. While Jessica Bompass who won the girls’ under-17 200m event was a finalist at SA Schools’ and the ASA Youth and Junior Championships.

Dal Josafat Stadium, Paarl

The 100m Youth Olympic Champion Luke Davids could not ask for a better way to start off his competition when he breezed through the 200m heat in a time of 21.74 seconds. It was perfect sprinting conditions and Luke made the most of it in the boys’ under-17 200m final with a winning time of 21.22 seconds.

The silver medallist in the boys’ under-20 110m hurdles at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships Azile Madini took the 110m hurdles title at the School of Speed in Paarl. However, he was pushed all the way by Boland’s Jason October who had to settle for second place.

Among the standout middle-distance events was the boys under-16 800m events where Bottelary’s Quen Jacobs was leading for most of the race only to be over taken in the last 80m by second-placed Duvan Faro from Tygerberg High School and Paarl Gymnasium’s Gaiwan Jantjies who won the event in a time of 1:59:88.

In high jump action, Paul Roos Gymnasuim’s Reece Montsumi jumped 1.90m to grab the gold medal in the boys’ under-15 high jump event. While it was the same result for the ASA U20 high jump champion Kristi Snyman who mastered 1.70m.

Bestmed Tuks Stadium, Pretoria

The boys’ under-19 SA schools’ 110m hurdles champion Roelof van der Walt was in a class of his own to take the gold medal. The 100m hurdles and 200m sprint champion at the Region 5 under-20 Games Antionette van der Merwe finished in first place in the 100m sprints. Athletics Gauteng North’s Lee-anne Blake kicked off her season with a gold medal in the girls’ under-18 800m event, Blake went on to finish second in the same event at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships, in Paarl, in April. Carmie Prinsloo who took the bronze medal in the 1500m event at the Region 5 Games grabbed the gold medal, in the same event, in her first outing of the season. In field action, the boys’ under-19 high jump event kept fans on the edge of their seat, as the top three jumpers, ended the competition at 2.00m. In the end the title went to Siyanda Masuku on count back, followed by, Nkosi Manqoba and Keenan Platt. Platt from Athletics Gauteng North went on to take silver at the SA schools’ champs and was a finalist at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships.

Written by Keagan Mitchell

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