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Two more medals for SA at U20 worlds

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South Africa closed their IAAF World U20 Championships campaign in style by bagging two more medals in Tampere, Finland on Saturday.

Sokwakhana Zazini added the global junior title to the youth crown he won in Nairobi, Kenya last year, completing the 400-metre hurdles men final in 49.42 seconds to win gold as Bassem Hemeida of Qatar took second place in 49.59.

Breyton Poole also delivered an impressive performance, taking a share of the bronze medal in the men’s high jump final with a 2.23m clearance in a tight contest.

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Poole finished in a tie for third place on count back with American athlete JuVaughn Blake, while Antonios Merlos of Greece and Roberto Vilches of Mexico shared gold, as all four athletes cleared the same height.

Valco van Wyk ended in a tie for eighth place in the men’s pole vault final, clearing the bar at 5.30m, while Anro van Eeden took 11th place in the javelin final with a 65.51m throw.

Discus thrower Ignatius Marais produced a best attempt of 54.56m in the qualifying round, but missed out on a place in the final.

The SA 4x400m men’s relay team finished sixth in their heat in a time of 3:26.44, and the women’s quartet were seventh in their heat in 3:50.39, as neither progressed to the medal battle.

The national squad have now completed their campaign with four medals – three gold and one bronze.

While the IAAF World U20 Championships is set to conclude on Sunday, there were no SA athletes taking part on the last day of competition. The final medal standings will be determined at the end of the final day’s competition.

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Meanwhile, Kyle Blignaut, winner of SA’s first medal with gold in the shot put earlier in the competition shared his joy with Team SA’s MARK ETHERIDGE.

’It was just a great day with lovely warm weather. In the morning’s qualification I just wanted to save energy for evening. Qualification was 19.60m – which I threw exactly.

‘So then I went back to hotel and had a light meal and just rested.

‘Back at the stadium in the evening the atmosphere was great… it’s biggest crowd I’ve ever thrown in front of!. I led from first round with a throw of just over 21.

‘Then the American came through with his 22.06m in the fifth round. That really motivated me… I said to myself “I’m not going to lose this one…I’ve worked so hard for it”.

‘So I ended up winning by just one centimetre but rather one centimetre ahead than behind!

‘The crowd played a huge role… with announcer making for a great atmosphere. I feel so privileged to win this with a SA and African record but now it’s back to training for the senior African championships.

‘I’ll carry on doing some light training not to lose form. It’s obviously a different weight but I want to get near 20m,’ concluded the big Krugersdorp thrower.

Photos: Zazini (main picture), Poole and Blignaut, by ROGER SEDRES/IMAGESA


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