Anro van Eeden’s rise to the top

Boland’s Anro van Eeden will have one eye on the World Junior Championships following his inclusion in the SA preliminary team.  Here he is pictured in the boys’ under-20 javelin event, at the ASA youth and junior championships, in Paarl, last month. Photo by Keagan Mitchell

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While the annual International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Dimond League Series kicked off earlier this month, Boland’s Anro van Eeden,19, has his eye on the World Junior Championships, in Finland, in July.

This comes after Van Eeden who is ranked number one in the boys’ under-20 javelin event on the IAAF rankings was chosen in the South African preliminary squad for the global showpiece.

A 21-member preliminary squad was announced last week with the final squad to be announced later this month.

Team SA will hope to improve on their performance of two years back after they finished in 23rd place that included three silver medals.

Van Eeden a member from Worcester Athletics Club said he is excited to make the SA preliminary team and hopes to make the final squad.

“I will be counting the days for the final team release. Should I make the final squad, the plan would be to win the gold medal. I am looking forward to meet athletes from other countries but most importantly to enjoy myself,” he said.

Last month, the youngster from Montagu in the Western Cape won the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 javelin event with a distance of 74.07m at the Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships, in Boksburg, in Johannesburg.

Also, in April Van Eeden throw a massive personal best of 77.59m that saw him finish first in the boys’ under-20 javelin event at the Athletics South Africa(ASA) youth and junior championships in Paarl.

Last month he also won the gold medal at the SA schools’ championships with a distance of 72.28m in the boys’ under-19 javelin event, in Potchefstroom, in the North-West Province.

The lanky athlete said he has a phenomenal season thus far as his been constantly throwing over the 72m mark.

“I am pleased with my season and achieved all the goals I set for myself.   I came first in every meet I took part in from school competitions through to the Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships. One of my fondest moments this year was when I through a personal best of 77.59m this comes after my first two throws were not valid. However, wearing the green and gold is the highlight of my track and field career thus far,” he said.

Inspired by former coach Rocco van Rooyen who repressed South Africa at the Olympics, in Brazil, in 2016 and the last two World Championships in China and the United Kingdom.

“He had such a big influence on my life, personally and athletics wise. He was not only my coach but a friend and an inspiration.  One day I hope to join him at the Olympics,” said Van Heerden whose keen interest for javelin started in 2014.

“I did well in school competitions but had no coach.   I started to watch video clips to learn more but my technique was not right and I picked up injuries.  In 2016 the sport manager at Worcester Gymnasium Delise van Wyk arranged with Rocco to coach us on Friday morning before school started.  This made a difference and my distances started to improve and technique got better,” he said


Written by Keagan Mitchell