Thembo Monareng’s journey to World Junior Championships

Athletics Gauteng North’s Thembo Monareng, center, will represent South Africa, at the World Junior Championships, in Finland, next month.  Here he is pictured in the boys’ under-20 100m sprints, at the ASA youth and junior championships, in Paarl, earlier this year. Photo by Keagan Mitchell


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With less than a month to go until the World Junior Championships, in Finland, team South Africa are hard at work and fine-turning their track and field skills. They are, after all, on a mission to represent the country and bring home the gold.

A 19-member strong team was announced last month that includes South African 100m junior record holder Thando Dlodlo and last year’s world youth champions Breyton Poole (high jump), Zeney van der Walt (400m hurdles) and Sokwakhana Zazini (400m hurdles).

Also, in action will be Athletics Gauteng North’s Thembo Monareng,19, who will take part in the boys’ under-20 100m sprints and is a member of the 4x100m relay team.

Monareng inclusion in the squad does not come as a surprise following his gold medal performance, clocking 10.18 seconds, in the men’s 100m sprints, at the University Sports South Africa(USSA) track and field championships, at the DP de Villers track, in Sasolburg, in April.

The first-year sports science student at the University of Pretoria dominated the competition from start to finish. From running 10.32 seconds in his heat, to 10.24 seconds in the semi-final and running a personal best in the final. He could have not asked for a better way to end off his local track and field season.

In the same month, Monareng finished in fourth and fifth place, in the boys’ under-20 100m and 200m sprint events, clocking 10.27 and 21.95 seconds, at the Athletics South Africa(ASA) youth and junior championships, in Paarl.

The former Garsfontein High School pupil kicked off his European season in fine style clocking 10.53 seconds to claim third place in the men’s 100m sprints at the Aarhus Nordic Challenge, in Denmark, earlier this month. In the same week, he finished in eighth place clocking 10.67 seconds, in the men’s 100m sprints, at the Genève AtletiCAGenève meet, in Switzerland. Monareng will now look emulate his performances of the local athletics season and the experience of running in European conditions come world junior championships.

“To represent your country is something special. The world under-20 championships is not going to be easy so I need to be well prepared. My season has gone accordioning to plan and with every race I learned something new and became mentally stronger,” he said.

Last year, Monareng had one of his most memorable track and field seasons.  This comes after he won the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 100m sprints, clocking 10.41 seconds, at the African Junior Championships, in Tlemcen, in Algeria. He also finished first and second in the boys’ under-20 100m and 200m sprints, at the ASA youth and junior championships, at the Green Point track, in Cape Town.  He also won the gold medal, in the boys’ under-19 100m sprints, clocking 10.40 seconds, at the SA School’s Championships, in Durban.

Monareng said his mother Paulina has played the most important role in his track and field career.

“My goal is always to make my mother proud because she has been there for me through my ups and downs. I will always be grateful for everything she has done,” he said.


Written by Keagan Mitchell