The Citizen (KZN)

Jingqi back on track to realise Olympic dream

- Wesley Bo on

Bouncing back from injury struggles, sprint sensation Viwe Jingqi (right) is delighted to be getting back to her best as the teenager sets her sights on this year’s Olympic Games.

Two years ago, at the age of 17, Jingqi exploded onto the domestic scene by shattering the long-standing national youth 100m (11.22) and 200m (23.03) records, both of which had stood for more than 39 years.

Last year, she struggled to recover from appendix surgery and injuries, and her 2023 campaign never really got off the ground.

Shaking off those troubles, however, Jingqi’s promising career looks to be back on track.

She opened her 2024 season with a national senior best of 16.93 seconds over the rarely contested 150m distance at the Backtrack Classic Shootout in Pretoria last month, and she went on to win the 100m (11.55) and 200m (23.18) finals at the Central North West provincial championsh­ips earlier this month.

Turning out again in Potchefstr­oom last week, Jingqi won the 200m race in 23.55 at the first leg of the ASA Athletix Grand Prix series.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to come back at all like this because last year every time I tried to run I would get niggles here and there, and [the scar tissue from] my appendix operation would get painful,” said the North West University student, who is coached by SA relay coach Paul Gorries.

“But the rehab helped a lot and if I hadn’t done that and everything else I needed to do, I don’t think I would be here today.”

While she finds her feet again on the domestic circuit, Jinqi will already be setting her sights on the African Championsh­ips in Cameroon in June and the World U-20 Championsh­ips in Peru in late August.

Her main goal, however, is to qualify for the Olympics at the end of August.

“Qualifying for Paris is the real plan this year. I mean, who doesn’t want to go to the Olympics?” Jingqi said.

“Since 2022, the goal has been to go to the 2024 Olympics, so that’s my target.”

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa