BackTrack Athlete of the week! 


AOW (Athlete of the week) is back!!! As the Olympic Games draw nearer and athletes still scrambling to get that all important Q (qualification) mark that we
continue to celebrate their achievements! We’re tracking back to look at some of the amazing performances posted by South Africans in the month of May.
Week 23: 10-16 May 2021

Here’s a look at the candidates for AOW:

Kyle Blignaut: Shot Put

Blignaut is the new kid on the block in the SA senior throwing ranks. The World u20 Shot Put Champion is finally ready to take on the seniors in what has been a patient but 
consistent process. Blignaut threw a massive 21.21m distance which also granted him the Olympic Games qualifying distance as well as the USSA title.

Lindukuhle Gora : 400m Hurdles
Gora has been in phenomenal shape this season after finishing in second place at the SA Champions, he again showed that he is the one to watching clocking 
49.97 to equal his personal best as well as grab the USSA title.

Zakithi Nene: 400m
Nene is currently in the shape of his life and he had the whole athletics community on the edge of their seats when he ran in the 400m final at the USSA Athletics 
Championships. Nene clocked a massive PB in the 400m bagging the title in a time of 45.03

Tsebo Matsoso: 200m & 400m
Matsoso is the new athlete on the block and seems to be the next big thing to come out of the experience hands of Tannie Ans Botha. Matsoso has been building up 
great momentum this season and at the USSA Championships he was on point finishing second in the 400m clocking a PB (personal best) time of 45.90 seconds 
and then adding to this by winning the 200m in 20.52 seconds.

Tiaan Kleynhans: 110m Hurdles
Kleynhas has been one of the breakthrough athletes this season with performances that left many surprised. Kleyns with the SA 110m Hurdles title added the USSA 
Athletics title with a time of 13.60 seconds to close of his SA season undefeated in the championships.

Justine Palframan:200m & 400m
Palframan is making a strong return to dominance in the 200m and 400m again. After bagging the SA 200m Championships title she was on song again at the USSA 
Championship at UJ. Palframan won both the 400m in 52.77 seconds and the 200m in 23.37 seconds.

Mpho Links: High Jump 2.25
Link is finding late season form after what he would say was a disappointing SA Championships, he went on to jump to a new PB of 2.27m and few weeks later he 
won the USSA title shrugging off tough competitors with a jump of 2.25m.

Divan Manuel: Long Jump
Divan Manuel is a name we certainly can’t ignore any longer after he posted a legal 8.04m in the long jump to win the USSA Championships title.

Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi: 100m & 200m
Maswanganyi is one of the most exciting athletes to watch on the track. His charisma is equally matched with BMT (Big Match Temperament) and entertainment. 
Maswanganyi put together his best performance in both the 100m and 200m at the American OTF Champions clocking a sensational 9.87 seconds (+3.8w) and 
following this with 19.93 seconds (+3.3w). Fastest double ever by a South African and also bagging the America OTF Freshman of the year title to top off a 
memorable weekend of competition.

AOW Gift Leotlela – 10.04 & 9.94
Athlete of the week goes to “Gift of Speed” Leotlela! Leotlela was one of the high lights of the competition blessing South Africans with yet another sub 10 seconds 
race. Leotlela shot out of the blocks to win the USSA title in a time of 9.94 seconds! This performance gave him an automatic qualifying for the Olympic Games and 
booked his ticket Japan.

Congrats to all the athletes for flying the SA flag high.

Written by Themba Madima