U/18 AND U/20 SPRINTERS OFF TO FLYING START
Photo by Reg Caldecott
If running 20.88 (200m), 10.34 (100m) and 10.37 (100m) for under 20 season’s openers are anything to go by, than surely Thembo Monareng, Retshidisitswe Mlenga and Malesela Senona can only go faster.
When it was announced that fans will have the opportunity of a lifetime to meet Usain Bolt at the Puma School of Speed series at Ruimsig Stadium on 29 January, I always knew the athletes would not get much of the limelight on the day, and that despite posting world class times. Tuks’ under 20 sensation, Senona, bounced back from injury to win his heat in 10.42, the fastest time of the day. His teammate, Monareng, meanwhile, showed he has done his homework when he crossed the line in 10.50 seconds to win his heat whereas Mlenga, the world u/18 200m champion, proved that his performances in Kenya was no fluke when dipped to a 20.88 second 200m win. Although it is early days, it makes me proud to see these athletes’ names occupying the top two spots on IAAF’s world rankings. But that’s not all, even Mlenga is ranked second, but in the 200m of course.
Add to the list the 21.07 seconds 200m of Luke Davids, and Jayson Weber’s 21.37, and we have two more athletes ranked among the top three in the world at present. Add another star, the tall and powerful world u/18 400m hurdles champion, Zeney van der Walt, who powered her way to victory in the 200m finals, also at Ruimsig stadium, breaking the tape in 24.61 seconds, and we are talking big things. But she was pushed all the way to the line by the new-kid-on-the-block, Shere Jansen van Rensburg, so that is another athlete to look out for.
With the national u/18 and u/20 championships two months away, and a lot of work awaiting in the pipeline, we can only expect greater performances.
Written by Reggie Hufkie