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CAA Southern Region Youth Championships 2011

Izelle Neuhoff

Izelle Neuhoff

The South African Youth team dominated in Namibia during the Southern Region Youth Championships over the weekend as the team placed first overall with 50 medals.  23 of these medals were gold, 19 silver and 8 bronze. Eleven Southern region countries participated in the Championships, but saw all medals won by other countries combined not even come close to South Africa.

The first day caused for some exciting competition as South Africa triumphed in the 400m hurdles, taking both the gold and silver medal in both events.  Izelle Neuhoff took gold for the girls, running 60.24sec while Marina Swanepoel took silver with her time of 64.30sec.  Constant Pretorius was crowned the champion in 52.34sec for the boys while teammate Tiaan Mouton took silver just behind him with a time of 52.87sec.  Both Neuhoff and Pretorius took lead from the gunshot till the finish line.

In the 800m Thato Makhafola was stumbling between fourth and fifth position but started working the pace and took the lead in the last lap from the 300m mark.  She finished for the gold medal (2:14.29) while her closest competitor was more than 15 meters behind her.  In the 800m for men, Lerato Masunyane finished in the third place (1:55.97) to claim bronze but Siphiwe Tefo had to be happy with 4th place as he finished in a time of 1:56.67.

Things were definitely going in the favour of discus athletes Jan-Louw Kotze and Gerhard de Beer as both of them threw personal bests in their event.  Jan-Louw claimed the gold with his third attempt, a very impressive distance of 64.79m and is now ranked number one in South Africa. Gerhard pushed 59.74m at his fourth attempt to claim the silver medal.

In the women’s shot put the practice of achieving new personal bests continued as Cecile Meyer took the gold medal with her distance of 13.38m.  Lezaan Jordaan’s third attempt of 13.22m was not enough for the gold and she had to be satisfied with second place.

Long jump athletes Janet Seelinger bettered her personal best when she jumped her place onto the top spot of the podium with her 6th attempt reaching 5.95m.  Maryke Britz will definitely be happy as she not only took the silver medal, but also jumped a new personal best with her 5.92m at the 5th attempt.

The medal harvest continued as Alicia Labuschagne took bronze in the 2000m Steeple Chase (7:39.13).  In the same event for the men Katleo Dyoyi took the gold with his time of 6:15.71 while the Gauteng North athlete, Jacob Tseko, took the silver medal almost 14 seconds behind Katleo.  He finished in 6:29.01.

Philippa van der Merwe, Liezl Hector, Hendrick Khumalo, Sergeal Peterson and Bradley Britz all qualified for the finals of the 100m and all went on to take medals in the finals.  Phillipa was crowned the champion when she finished in 11.82 sec while Liezl Hechter took the silver medal in exactly 12:00sec.

Hendrick Khumalo finished first with his 10:55sec, insuring him the number six spot on the world rankings list. Bradley Britz (10:85sec) and Sergeal Peterson (10:85sec) took gold, silver and bronze respectively; making sure no other country could claim a medal in this event.

In the men’s triple jump as well as javelin personal bests were recorded for all four athletes.  Albert Janki’s massive jump of 15.43m (attempt 6) earned him the title of Southern Region Youth Champion while Sabelo Ndlovu’s 14.80m at his second attempt earned him the silver medal.

Javelin throwers Morne Moolman’s first attempt of 81.37m was enough for the first place, also a number one position in South Africa, while Reinhardt van Zyl took the bronze medal.

Day two saw the medal haul continuing as Thumisang Monnatlala (4:01.05) and Siphiwe Tefo (4:01.86) took the silver and bronze medals respectivelyin the 1500m.  The men’s shot put was again dominated by the South African team as Ruan Combrinck took gold (19.32m), Jan-Louw Kotze silver (17.14m) and Cornelius Lombard in the third place with his distance of 16.28m.  In the women’s discus Somari Els secured the gold medal with her 6th attempt reaching a staggering 44.09m, more than 6 meters ahead of silver medalist Lezaan Jordaan.  Jordaan 38.70m at the 5th attempt was enough for the silver medal.

Maryke Brits and Shani Bodenstein showed that speed and technique combined is a dangerous combination and the recipe for success as they claimed the first two positions on the podium for the 100m hurdles.  Maryke finished in a time of 13.95 while silver medalist, Shani Bodenstein finished in 14.13 sec.

Amongst the men, Andries van der Merwe claimed victory in 13.39sec and Tiaan Smith’s 13.41sec earned another silver medal for South Africa in the 110m hurdles.

After qualifying for the 200m finals, Phillipa van der Merwe, Janet Seelinger and Stecey Welsh all got medals.  Phillipa finished in 24.31sec, Janet followed closely with her time of 24.99sec and Stacey placed third with her 25.08sec run.  Amongst the men, Hendrick Khumalo and Fana Mafokeng also made it to the finals where they also claimed spots in the top two.  Khumalo’s 21.30sec earned him the title while Mofokeng’s 21.84sec fun earned him the silver medal.

More medals came as high jumper Willem van Schalkwyk jumped himself into the first place.  Brandon Prinsloo got the silver medal as both jumped 1.99m.

The 400m was another event the South Africans dominated as Izelle Neuhoff claimed gold with her time of 54.21sec.  Stephanie Wicksell missed out on the silver medal with her time of 55.30sec as she finished in the third position.  Pieter Conradie (47.39sec) took the gold while Lorenzo Adams narrowly finished behind him (47.41sec) claiming silver.

In the Medley relay the women had two teams participating and took a gold and silver medal.  The teams finished in 2:13.60 and 2:14.10 respectively.  The men finished in the first place with their time of 1:54.92 to claim the gold.

The team did South Africa proud with their amount of medals and for many athletes an international competition may be exactly what they needed.  “For lots of these athletes it was their first ever international competition and they struggled with the pressure, but the Championship was great preparation for the World Championships happening in July,” said James Evans, chairperson of Athletics South Africa. Evans is also very excited about the team as most of them will be juniors next year, leaving the future of athletics very bright.

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