With the 2015 Track & Field season on our doorstep, it is hard to hold back our excitement. 2014 saw one of the best years in the history of South African athletics and a great 2015 season is much anticipated. We are especially looking forward to the 400m, 800m and 1500m women’s events which will see the comeback of a much fitter, faster and ready to run Caster Semenya. With her is former National Junior/Senior 800m champion Gena Lofstrand and Gira Carstens (whom you will know after the 2015 season).
The Potch Running Project which is capable of delivering caliber athletes like Andre Olivier, Elroy Galant, Nijel Amos, Rantso Makopane etc is now becoming the project that every middle/long distance athlete wants to be a part of. New additions to the project are stalwart trio Caster Semenya, Gena Lofstrand and Gira Carstens.
Will we see a SA’s 1,2 and 3 from them this year? Is this the start of a new era for women in our beautiful sport? Can this change the face of middle distance running on international level for our women?
“The goal is to run fast in South Africa, but our main goal is definitely Europe and championship races. It also includes World Student Games for Gena and Gira and they plan on peaking around June/July” said an excited coach Jean Verster. This is surely the start of something great. When asked about running a sub 2min 800m in South Africa, both Gena and Gira seemed positive which is exciting to see and hear.
“Yes sub 2 is the goal, I’m really focused on athletics, it’s my passion and I believe in following your dreams no matter how insane they are” mentioned Lofstrand who will kick off her Sport Science Degree at NWU Pukke this year. Studying and training on a professional level is very difficult, but one can’t take away the mindset of an athlete who is willing to do anything to achieve her goals and Gira seems to be the athlete who just wants to get out and run!
“As close to 2min as possible, we’re planning for a long season that won’t end after nationals…I just want to get out there and race to see where I am” In 2013 Gena showed South Africa what she is capable of doing when she won the women’s 800m race at national senior championships leading from the start of the race!
Caster, however, is known as the athlete who wins any race in the last 200m and Gira, well…we will just have to wait and see. “None of the athletes have the same needs or problems, hence we always try to get the right ‘expert’ for each individual” said Coach Verster after he was asked about the athletes’ needs and Potch Running Project’s set up.
Basics are important, you have to enjoy what you’re doing and you have to stay injury free, and then you will perform on any given level. Simply put, this is just a snippet of what’s currently happening at Potch. Caster, Gena and Gira…South Africa and Rio awaits thee! #ICANSOAR #EC #Backtrack
Photo’s by news34 and Ashleigh Schnetler
EC Media Coordinater – Reginald Hufkie