BackTrack Athlete of the Week!

Week 30
28 June – 4 July
On what was officially the last week of qualification it was nothing short of nerve-wracking, scary and intense. For some it was overwhelming but for one man it produced a lifetime best performance to book a spot in Tokyo.
Here’s a look at the few performances that stood out:

Akani Simbine: 100m
Simbine stepped out on the track again at Stadion Allmend in Luzern, Switzerland where he would compete in the 100m. Simbine is one of the athletes to beat in 2021 and has looked in phenomenal form since the SA season got underway. He continued his 100m winning streak in Europe when he won comfortably at the Spitzen Leichtathletik Meeting at Stadion Allmend in Luzern, Switzerland.

Ruswahl Samaai: Long Jump
Samaai was another of the SA athletes in action at the Spitzen Leichtathletik Meeting at Stadion Allmend in Luzern, Switzerland. Samaai was the victor in the men’s long jump event with a leap of 8.06m. This victory was Samaai’s first on the European circuit this season.

Jerry Motsau: 1500m
Motsau has been having a great season in 2021 which was highlighted by him breaking the SA record in the 3000m. Motsau had another mission on his mind now and that was qualifying in the 1500m. Fresh from a victory in the 800m in Mannheim, Germany where he clocked 1:48.61 Motsau was looking sharp and confident enough to get the job done. Unfortunately, he has to settle for a season-best time of 3:39.10 in 1st place at the Quali Eintracht Frankfurt Mittelstrecke Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. A solid victory nonetheless for Motsau.

Taylon Bieldt: 100m Hurdles
Bieldt made a surprise reunion with the 100m hurdles at the 32° Meeting Internazionale Di Atletica Leggera Sport e Solidarieta in Italy. Bieldt started the week off by competing in the 400m Hurdles in Luzern where she finished 3rd with a time of 56.81 seconds. In Italy, she followed this performance up with a victory in the 100m Hurdles where she clocked 13.33 seconds for 1st place.

Kyle Blignaut: Shot Put
Blignaut was in action at the Irena Szewinska Memorial / Bydgoszcz Cup at Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium in Poland. Blignaut finished with a throw of 20.91m which ended him in 5th place and it was also his furthest distance since beginning his circuit in Europe.

Wayde van Niekerk: 400m
Van Niekerk is back and despite finishing in 2nd place 10 days prior with an impressive time of 44.56, once can’t help but be encouraged by the improvement he has made since moving to the USA in such a short time. Van Niekerk was again in action in the 400m at the Spitzen Leichtathletik, Stadion Allmend in Luzern Switzerland and he went on to clock 44.87 whilst comfortably bagging a confidence-boosting victory. Road to Tokyo is looking well on par.

AOW – Precious Mashele: 5000m
Mashele stole the show in SA when he booked his place in the Olympic Games squad to Tokyo. Cometh the hour, cometh the Precious! Mashele was in action on the last day for athletes to qualify when he once again went to the Kingspark Stadium Olympic Qualifier Meet arranged by ASA and he did not disappoint! In a team effort that saw Ryan Mphahlele and Nkosinathi Sibiya assisting with accurate pacing, great weather conditions and destiny written in the stars, Mashele would go on to qualify which some change to spare in a time of 13:11.65! This has earned him our athlete of the week!

Congrats to all the athletes above who continually put SA on the map.

Photo credit: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Written by Themba Madima