ASA Youth and Juniors final review

Athletics Gauteng North’s Sokwakhana Zazini was in fine form in the boys’ under-20 400m sprints and hurdles events, at the ASA youth and junior championships, at Dal Josafat Stadium, in Paarl, that took place from Thursday April 5 to Saturday April 7. Photo by Backtrack Sports/Keagan Mitchell

Athletics Gauteng North continue their dominance in track and field, following their superb performance, at the South African youth and junior championships, in Paarl, that took place from Thursday April 5 to Saturday April 7.

They topped the medal count with 86 medals that included 31 gold and silver and 24 bronze followed by Central Gauteng and Boland Athletics.

Among the girls’ and boys’ in navy blue star performances was Gontse Morake and Sokwakhana Zazini who would have been smiling of the way their competition turned out.

Morake who part of the SA squad at the world youth championships last year clocked a personal best of 57.81 seconds in the girls’ under-18 400m hurdles to take the gold medal, scrapping out Gezelle Magerman’s previous record of 57.91 seconds.

A day later, Morake won the girls’ under-18 triple jump title with a distance of 12.74m.  However, it not a walk over, as the SA schools’ champion Nolwaz Mashaba from Athletics Mpumalanga kept Morake on her toes.

Zazini, a Grade 12 pupil at Tuks Sport High School had a good day at the office after he ran a personal best of 45.86 seconds to take the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 400m sprints.

Earlier in the competition, the world 400m hurdles youth champion clocked 49.98 seconds to finish first in the boys’ under-20 one-lap hurdles event.

The youngster could not have asked for a better way to end his local track and field season, following his gold medals and a silver medal in the 400m hurdles at the SA senior championships, in Pretoria, last month.

Zazini said to run a personal best is a bonus but the plan was always to win the title in the 400m sprints and hurdles.

“I am happy with the way my competition turned out and all my hard work during pre-season paid off,” he said.

Western Province Athletics Luke Davids stole the show in the boys’ under-18 sprint events after he won the gold medal in the 100m and 200m.

His time of 10.31 seconds in the 100m final was a personal best, while he stopped the clock at 21.44 seconds in the 200m finals

The lanky athlete said his proud of achievements and hopes to continue his rise in South African athletics.

“It is an honour for me to be 100m and 200m champion because my hard work paid off.  I sacrificed not to run schools’ this year because I focussed all my attention on the SA youth and junior championships which paid off. Credit should also go to my coach Nathan van Wyk and family for all the support and motivation,” he said.

The much-anticipated girls’ under-18 one-lap sprint event once again went down to the wire between Central Gauteng Athletics(CGA) Carla Hattingh and Kwazulu-Natal Athletics Amy Naude but it was Hattingh who yet again won the gold.  This comes after she got the better of Naude at the SA schools’ championships, in Potchefstroom, last month.

Although CGA’s Thando Dlodlo could only finish in third place in boys’ under-20 100m final, he made up for it in the 200m clocking 21.00 seconds to take the gold. The SA junior 100m record holder also helped CGA boys’ under-20 4x400m relay team to first place.

Boland Athletics Valco van Wyk, Ekhardt van der Watt, and Pieter Gilomee were in a class of their own in the boys’ under-20 pole vault event.  The trio made it a clean sweep with champion Van Wyk taking the gold medal with a height of 5.15m.

With the local youth and junior season coming to an end, athletes who dominated their events will now have their eyes set on the Southern Region youth and junior championships, in Boksburg, later this month. Also, the World Junior Championships and Youth Olympics in Finland and Argentina, later this year


Written by Keagan Mitchell