African Youth Games Preview

Western Province Athletics Luke Davids will compete in the boys’ under-18 100m and 200m sprint events, at the African Youth Games, in Algiers, in Algeria, that kicks off today. Here he is pictured at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships, in Paarl, in April. Photo by Keagan Mitchell.


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It’s all systems go for the third edition of the African Youth Games, in Algiers, in Algeria, that kicks off today July 19.

South Africa’s top U18 athletes will finally get an opportunity to showcase their track and field skills following the conclusion of the IAAF World Junior Championships and the inaugural Athletics World Cup, at the weekend.

Despite finishing the previous editions in second place behind Ethiopia, the latest group of youth athletes should go into the competition in full of confidence as six of the 29-member SA team are ranked among the top 10 U18 athletes in their respective events, in the events, in the world. While most of them are ranked in the top three in the U18 category in their respective events in Africa.

The track and field team will be joined by three other sporting codes that includes rugby sevens, archery and hockey 5’s (boys and girls). While the African Youth Games also serves as trials for the Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires, in Argentina, in October.

Team SA will be led by Western Province Athletics sprint powerhouse Luke Davids who has been in fine form this season. Davids from Belhar in Cape Town will look to continue his consistent performances in the 100m and 200m sprints following the sprint double at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships, in Paarl, in April. A week later, he was crowned champion in the 200m sprints clocking a personal best of 20.81 seconds, at the CAA Southern Regional Youth and Junior Championships, in Boksburg. However, he had to settle for second place in the 100m sprints.

Athletics Gauteng North’s duo of Lindokuhle Ghora and Gontse Morake will look to continued SA’s dominance in the 400m hurdles event at junior competitions after their teammates Sokwakhana Zazini and Zeney van der Walt won the gold medal at the IAAF World U18 and U20 Championships.

If South African male and female shotput throwers Lohan Potgieter and Dane Roets are anywhere close to their personal best of 20.16m and 17.46m it should secure them the gold medal. Potgieter and Roets from Athletics Gauteng North and Central Gauteng Athletics were crowned champions at the ASA and CAA African Youth and Junior Championships, in April.

Athletics North West North’s Jano Esterhuizen will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Western Province Athletics javelin thrower Rocco van Rooyen who was crowned champion, at the African Junior Championships, in Botswana, in 2011. Esterhuizen has been consistently throwing over 70metres this season and should be among the favourites to take gold.


Written by Keagan Mitchell