ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Happy New Year to you all!! May it be a successful and exciting year for all. We’re back to celebrating the athletes for stellar performances. In the coming week we will be celebrating the performances from 2022.

We are starting the Athlete of the week with an amazing performance in the final weeks of December 2021.

Here’s a look at the performances that stood out
DANIELLE VERSTER: MILE
18 year old, Verster has been one of the young talented distance athletes to look out for over the past 3 seasons and she shows no sign of slowing down. With the experience of the IAAF World u20 Cross Country Championships under her belt in 2019 whilst only 16 years old, and recently in 2021 having competed in the WA World u20 Championships (Track & Field), 2022 is set to be a great year. Competing at the Eden Steet Mile Series, Verster finished second in all 3 races behind Carina Viljoen who wouldn’t budge on all 3 occasions. In the first race Verster finished 2nd in the Klein Karoo street mile with a time of 4:40.96, she followed that up with a time of 4:43.80 in the Swartberg Track event which was the closest of all 3 races between her and Viljoen. In the final race, she clocked 4:48.57 to complete a gruelling 3 race series in 5 days.

JERRY MOTSAU
SA 3000m record holder, Motsau showed great form at the Eden Street Mile Series and had his hands full competing against Ryan Mphahlele who has pretty much made this series his hunting ground. Despite finishing second in all 3 races, Motsau put together a solid string of performances over the 3 legs in Oudshoorn. In the first race, the street mile in Klein Karoo Motsau clocked a time of 3:54.28 finishing behind Ryan Mphahlele. In the second race which took part at the Swartberg Athletics Track, Motsau clocked a time of 4:01.49. The final race was a different story with Motsau showing an aggressive attempt to win by making a surge which would have shaken off any athlete but not Mphahlele on this day. Motsau finished 2nd with a time of 3:58.52 in what was the closest finish of all 3 races. 2 dream miles in 5 days! Impressive!

CARINA VILJOEN: MILE
Back from America for the time being, Viljoen was in unforgiving form at the Eden Mile Series both on the road and on the track. Viljoen showed tremendous endurance and aggression in her race in December displaying a glimpse of the type of form she is in stepping into 2022. Viljoen won all 3 of her races starting with the victory at the Eden Mile Series street race at Klein Karoo in Oudshoorn where she clocked a time of 4:36.33 to break the record which was formerly held by Kesa Molotsane. In her second race which was on the track at Swartberg, Viljoen clocked a time of 4:43.08 to shake off the relentless junior, Danielle Verster who was on her heels finishing in 4:43.08. In her final race, Viljoen made it a clean sweep winning in a time of 4:46.15.

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: RYAN MPHAHLELE
King Ryan is certainly the hardest person to beat when it comes to street miles in SA. After breaking the course record with a solid victory at the Thembisa Street Mile, Mphahlele went to put on an untouchable series at the Eden Street Mile Series in December where he won all races and set course races whilst doing so. Mphahlele kept to his iconic tactic of bullying the pace from the front. Mphahlele became the first athlete to run 3 consecutive dream miles and he did so also whilst winning each race. Mphahlele started his winning spree with a victory at the Klein Karoo leg where he ran a course record of 3:52.54. The second race would be the greatest test as this one was a track race at Swartberg. Mphahlele showed the true colours of his form when he went on to win the race with a personal best time of 3:57.64. The final race in Hartenbos was another challenging one with no athlete ever breaking the 4-minute mark in this race. Mphahlele went on to win this one in a tight contest with Motsau in a time of 3:58.03 having to work his way from Motsau who was leading. This has earned Mphahlele our athlete of the week.

Photo Credit: www.edenmiles.co.za

Written by Themba Madima