SA athletes finish on top
EMPHASISING the country’s rise in global athletics, South Africa finished at the top of the log at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
South Africa’s small team bowed out of the age-group championships with a total of 11 medals — five gold, three silver, and three bronze.
Sprinting duo Tshenolo Lemao and Retshidisitswe Mlenga were responsible for two gold and two silver medals in the 100m and 200m.
Racing to rare doubles over both distances Lemao won the short sprint earlier in the week with Mlenga following behind him in second place with times of 10.57 seconds and 10.61 respectively.
Yesterday the sprinting sensations swopped positions with Mbenga dipping first in a time of 21.03 with Lemao crossing second in 21.12.
It was a Super Saturday that gave the South African team the edge winning three gold medals and a bronze.
During the morning session diminutive high jumper Breyton Poole improved his personal best by six centimetres clearing 2.24m for the title.
With his gravity-defying attempt Poole, who is 1.72m tall, came within a centimetre of Jacques Freitag’s national youth best.
“I was patient from the beginning and this made me more confident as the event went on,” Poole said.
“I feel great, having set two best heights in the same competition. Previous coaches discouraged me because of my height and I decided to work harder. Today I proved them all wrong.”
Overwhelming prechampionships favourite Sokwakhana Zazini did not disappoint as he annihilated the rest of the field to win the 400m hurdles in 49.27, almost three seconds clear of his nearest rival.
The South African holds the youth world best of 48.84 he posted in South Africa in March.
It proved to be golden 400m hurdles double for South Africa with Zeney van der Walt claiming a dramatic victory in 58.23 to edge out Jamaica’s Sanique Walker by 0.04.