A total of 10 track and field disciplines in two days is not for the faint-hearted!
ÔÇ£But if they call me crazy, I am all-right with that. Its lekker,ÔÇØ smiled Team SA decathlon athlete Gert Swanepoel ahead of the IAAF World Junior Championships which start in Moncton, Canada on Monday.
They make them tough in Viljoenskroon district, in the Free State and the 19-year-old North West University technical teaching student has no plans of throwing in the towel when he begins competing on Tuesday.
ÔÇ£The African record stands at 7548 points and my SA record is at 7380, but I reckon I will need to be around 7600 points to be among the medals and I know I can do it,ÔÇØ said Swanepoel, whose family has a cattle and maize farm in Vierfontein, near Viljoenskroon.
ÔÇ£I have a 1500 metres best time of 4 min 23 secs, but Moncton being at the coast I know I can run around 4:15,ÔÇØ said African junior champion Swanepoel. ÔÇ£I have never been beaten over 1500m in SA or Africa in a decathlon event and I don’t plan on kicking the habit now.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I have a pole vault best of 3.75m, but I am using poles that have been leant to me here in Moncton, as certain airlines will not transport my poles from SA because of the size. Even if I don’t bend the pole completely, I can still do well and get points. Maybe not as much as I would have with my own pole, but I can make up the lost points elsewhere in the decathlon competition.ÔÇØ
His long jump career best of 7.04m is just as classy, as recognised during the conversation by team-mate and continental record-holder Luvo Manyonga. ÔÇ£But I hate the 100m discipline,ÔÇØ added Swanepoel. ÔÇ£Its quick, simple and plain. I don’t find it interesting at all.ÔÇØ
Swanepoel, who was deputy head boy at Orkney High School last year, lives by his slogan of ‘Higher, Further, Faster’ ÔÇô his recipe that includes self-belief. ÔÇ£At school I was consistent over all my disciplines so decathlon was the obvious choice for me,ÔÇØ he said.
ÔÇ£Team SA would love to return to SA with more medals the three collected by the national team at the IAAF World Junior Championships held in Poland two years ago and I will do all that I can to be able to contribute to a successful campaign,ÔÇØ said Swanepoel.
Gert Swanepoel Fact File (career best performances)
Date of Birth: 20 March 1991
1500m: 4min 23.02sec
Pole Vault: 3.75m
Long Jump: 7:04m
Shot Put: 12.91m
High Jump: 2.02m
110m hurdles: 14.21sec