SA Youth and Junior Championsips – Males Preview

Junior athlete, Sokhwakhana Zazini in action at the Senior Championships at Tuks where he finished second. Photo by Backtrack Sports

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With the much-anticipated Athletics South Africa (ASA) youth and junior championships just a few days away, in Paarl, Central Gauteng Athletics(CGA) Thando Dlodlo will look to continue his rise in SA sprinting. The boys’ under-20 100m and 200m sprint events is tipped to be one of the highlights at the ASA youth and junior championships as most of the big guns will come into the competition in fine form. Dlodlo, a Grade 12 pupil at Monument High School will come into the boys’ under-20 100m and 200m sprint events as the favourite after he finished second in these events, at the ASA senior and combined event championships, in Pretoria, last month.
The young speedster clocked 10.11 seconds in the 100m semi-finals at the South African senior championships, which is a new SA junior/under-20 record and ran a personal best of 20.41 seconds in the 200m final. Also in contention will be Athletics Gauteng North’s(AGN) Thembo Monareng who will look to produce the results when it counts most. Monareng was crowned 100m champion, in the junior section, at SA schools’ and junior championships, last year. His teammates Tshenolo Lemao and Retshiditswe Mlenga will also be in the running for a podium finish. Lemao and Mlenga made headlines when they won the gold medal in the 100m and 200m sprint events, at the World Youth Championships, in Kenya, last year.
This leaves us with a mouth-watering contest on our hands with any of the four above athletes all in with a shout of doing the double.
Dlodlo who has been a regular at the SA youth and junior championships said the plan is to win the 100m and 200m this year.
“The competition will be from a high standard but anything is possible on the day. I was happy with my performances at SA seniors because it gave me confidence moving forward,” he said.

Also lining up with hopes of snatching a medal at nationals will be the inform Luke Davids from Western Province Athletics(WPA). The youngster stopped the clock on 10.51 and 21.37 seconds in the boys’ under-18 100m and 200m sprint events at the WPA junior championships, at the Parow athletics track, last month. Also, in February, Davids ran a personal best of 21.07 in the boys’ under-18 200m sprints at the WPA open and combined events competition, however no wind was indicated. The lanky athlete from Belhar was a finalist in the boys’ under-18 100m and 200m sprint events, at the Commonwealth Youth Games, in the Bahamas, last year.
The one-lap specialist Sokwakhana Zazini will be the favourite to win the boys’ under-20 400m sprints and hurdles titles at the SA youth and junior championships. Zazini who is known to many as ‘Sokkies’ was crowned boys’ under-19 400m hurdles champion at the SA schools’ championships, in Potchefstroom. A few days earlier, the 400m hurdles world youth champion came second in the same event at the SA senior championships, in Pretoria.
Boland’s Anro van Eeden has been in a class of his own in the boys’ under-19 javelin event this season. The Grade 12 pupil from Worcester Gymnasium was crowned SA schools’ champion in the boys’ under-19 javelin event with a distance of 72.28 metres. Van Eeden missed the boys’ under-19 SA schools’ record by 22cm, which is held by North-West Province Eric Wiese.
Jason Tito from AGN will look to jump his way to the gold medal at the SA youth and junior championships. Last month, Tito won the gold medal with a distance of 7.45m in the long jump event at the SA schools’ championships.

 

Written by Keagan Mitchell