Ntando MahlanguThe first day of the age group championships held in Germiston was filled predominantly heats; some really fast heats.

The day started off very well at the championships when u/18 race walker Mizaan Viljoen made her intentions clear by going out really fast and eventually winning the 5000m race walk event in a new South African record of 25min17sec! She has thus secured her place in the Southern Region Championships team and proved that hard work and persistence pays off. Tamzin Thomas, in the faster races of the track events, cruised into the u/20 women’s 100m tomorrow in a blistering 11.59sec. Her flawless and effortless running technique stunned the crowd as she walked off the track as if nothing happened. Gift Leotlela, on the other hand, literally jogged a 10.50sec 100m in the u/20 men’s 100m race and later shot out of the blocks to win his semi-final in an amazing time of 10.21sec! These are two world class performances that will be bettered in the finals tomorrow and there are big possibilities that both these u/20 stars might shock South Africa by causing a stir and qualifying for the biggest spectacle on the athletics calendar later this year.

A frenzy was caused when 14 year amputee athlete Ntando Mahlangu set the track alight when he won his u/15 boys heat in a new world record for the T42 class 400m! Ntando ran well under 52seconds making it really hard for his compatriots to keep up. Not much will be said about this young man because we are expecting even greater things the next two days. In the u/23 men’s 400m race, on the other side, Pieter Conradie showcased great courage by starting the race very fast and maintaining his shape clocking a quick 46.26sec 400m. The 400 and 800 meter athlete could possibly qualify for Olympics if he will solely focus on the 400m. On the field, however, Tharina Van der Walt set a new South African record in the girls u/16 hammer-throw when she threw a big leap of 61.18m! The powerhouse that boasts with a great throwing technique is one to watch out for in the future.

Some class performances are expected as we head into day two. May it be a day of personal bests, qualifying times and fun!

Written by Reggie Hufkie