Team South Africa has been announced to take part in the IAAF World Youth Athletics Championships in Lille, France on 6-10 July. A squad of 36 has been named, made up of 24 boys and 12 girls.
Over the past few months athletes have been going all out to perform in order to get one of the most coveted spots, and a chance to represent South Africa. The team consists of 36 of the best athletes who have proved their abilities over numerous recent competitions.
A glance at the boy’s squad shows that 24 boys qualified for the World Championships in a wide variety of events, proving that we truly have a lot of young talent in South Africa.
Amongst the 100 metre sprinters Bradley Brits and Sergeal Peterson will compete in the 100m.┬áBrits (ranked seventh in the world) ran the 100m in 10.62sec during the Southern Region Youth Championships in Namibia, but has dipped under that when he ran 10.51sec in Germiston.┬áPeterson finished in 10.82sec but have also had a 10.55sec finish before.┬áPeterson’s inclusion in the team however is subject to his fitness levels, which is not guaranteed yet.
Qualifiers in the 200m include Hendrick Khumalo and Fana Mofokeng after their performances this season. Khumalo ran a personal best in Namibia, ensuring that his 21.30sec (21.25sec in the prelims) made him a good choice for the team. Mofokeng crossed the line in 21.84sec but ran 21.65sec earlier this year in Germiston.
Pieter Conradie (Gauteng North) and Lorenzo Adams (Boland) will represent South Africa in the 400m. Both had consistent performances in Namibia and finished more than a second ahead of their biggest competitors.┬áConradie is ranked number eight in the world.
The best athletes in the world come from South Africa in the 110m hurdles discipline as Andries van der Merwe and Tiaan Smit proved.┬áBoth improved their personal bests during the Southern Region Youth Champs when they finished in 13.39sec and 13.41sec respectively.┬áVan der Merwe is top ranked in the world while Smit is the number two 110m hurdles runner.
In the 400m hurdles, Tiaan Mouton holds the No1 spot in the world and will defend his title in France. His best time was run in Paarl in March this year (51.24sec) but came second to Constant Pretorius in Namibia. Constant is currently ranked fourth in the world with the 51.94sec he clocked in Germiston in March.
As the number one in the 2000m steeplechase world rankings Katleo Dyoyi will definitely want to run even better than the 5.48.10 that he recorded in Paarl in March.┬áJust below the top spot is Jacob Tseko, number two in the world. Tseko recorded his best time (5:48.11) in Paarl as well. With times as close as this between the two, this event will definitely be worth looking out for.
After his extraordinary performance in Namibia, discus athlete Jan-Louw Kotze will definitely want to get close to that mark again. The top ranked discus thrower sent the disc flying to 64.79m, exceeding everybody’s greatest expectations, and breaking a 20-year-old record (63.46m) set by Frits Potgieter in the process.┬áThe record however still awaits ratification and has not been recognized officially.┬áGerhard de Beer (No3 in the world) also achieved his best ever performance at the Youth Champs with 59.74m.
Willem van Schalkwyk and Brandon Prinsloo will represent the team in the high jump. Both have already jumped 2.10m this season and will definitely have an opportunity in France to improve on this.
Morne Moolman is ranked top in his class on the javelin world rankings list and after his massive 81.37m in Namibia all eyes will be on this talented athlete as distances like these don’t get recorded every day.┬áMoolman broke the record of Robert Oosthuizen by a whole 30cm and still awaits ratification. Reinhardt van Zyl’s best of 71.75m in Germiston in April ensured him a spot in the team.
In the long jump Duwayne Boer will possibly have Armand Bam to join him in France if declared fit. Boer jumped 7.36m in Pretoria in February and won in Namibia when he jumped 7.23m.
Triple jump athletes Albert Janki and Sabelo Ndlovu have both proven that they should be in the team by jumping 15.50m and 15.47m at the SA Champs respectively.
Ruan Combrinck is the only one in the team to reach the qualifying standards in the shot put event after his 19.63m attempt in Germiston during the SA Championships. Number Five in the world, Lloyd Greef will be participating in the Octathlon.
In the girls events, 100m sprinter Liezl Hechter from Central North West came second in Namibia when she finished in 12sec, just behind Phillipa van der Merwe. Phillipa in turn proved herself as the first ever athlete from the North Western Cape to win a medal at an SA Championship and also thrashed her competition in Namibia when she crossed the finish line in 11.82sec. Both qualified for the World Champs in the 100m after great performances.
In the 400m Stephanie Wicksell has big boots to fill. She’s the daughter of Ilse and Ray Wicksell.┬áIlse was the first athlete to break two minutes in the women’s 800m and still holds the SA Record for the 1000m.┬áRay represented the USA at the Olympics in the 5000m and raced with the likes of Sydney Maree and Steve Cram. Stephanie qualified with her 54.90sec run in Bellville. In Namibia at the Southern Region Youth Championships she clocked 55.81sec for the bronze medal.
Stephanie will be joined by Mareike Wolhuter who recorded 56.35sec in Bellville this year. She finished in fourth position behind Wicksell┬á in Namibia with her 56.85sec.
As an 800m athlete Thato Makhafola is the only athlete in the whole team to reached the qualifying standards for inclusion. Makhafola finished in 2:08.66 in Durban in April.
In the hurdle events three athletes will travel to France. Izelle Neuhoff (59.03sec) and Marina Swanepoel (60.82sec) both qualified in the 400m hurdles while Maryke Brits will participate in the 100m hurdles as well as the long jump. Brits remains the only athlete in the team who qualified for more than one event.┬áAt┬á the SA Championships she finished the 100m hurdles in 13.82sec and her best in the long jump is the 5.96m she leapt at SA Seniors in Durban.
Janet Seelinger will also participate in the long jump having jumped 5.89m this year.┬áSomari Els gave it her all and threw a new personal best in Namibia during the Youth Champs when her discus crept over the 44m mark to reach 44.09m.
1 Bradley Britz ÔÇô 100m
2 Sergeal Petersen (subject to fitness) ÔÇô 100m
3 Andries van der Merwe ÔÇô 110m H
4 Tiaan Smit ÔÇô 110m H
5 Jacob Tseko ÔÇô 2000m SC
6 Katleo Dyoyi ÔÇô 2000m SC
7 Khumalo Hendrick ÔÇô 200m
8 Fana Mofokeng ÔÇô 200m
9 Pieter Conradie ÔÇô 400m
10 Lorenzo Adams ÔÇô 400m
11 Constant Pretorius ÔÇô 400m H
12 Tiaan Mouton ÔÇô 400m H
13 Jan-Louw Kotze ÔÇô discus
14 Gerhard de Beer ÔÇô discus
15 Willem van Schalkwyk ÔÇô high jump
16 Brandon Prinsloo ÔÇô high jump
17 Reinhardt van Zyl ÔÇô javelin
18 Morne Moolman ÔÇô javelin
19 Duwayne Boer ÔÇô long jump
20 Ruan Combrinck ÔÇô shot put
21 Albert Janki ÔÇô triple Jjump
22 Sabelo Ndlovu ÔÇô triple jump
23 Armond Bam (subject to fitness) ÔÇô long jump
24 Lloyd Greef ÔÇô octathlon
1 Phillipa Van der Merwe ÔÇô 100m
2 Liezl Hechter ÔÇô 100m
3 Lezaan Jordaan ÔÇô shot put
4 Cecile┬á ÔÇô┬á shot put
5 Thato Makhafola ÔÇô 800m
6 Stephanie Wicksell ÔÇô 400m
7 Mareike Wolhuter ÔÇô 400m
8 Izelle Neuhoff ÔÇô 400m H
9 Maryke Brits ÔÇô long jump, 100mH
10 Janet Seeliger ÔÇô long jump
11 Marina Swanepoel ÔÇô 400m H
12 Somari Els ÔÇô discus