Zeney van der Walt won Gold in the 400m hurdles at the World U18 Championships in 2017. Last year she repeated that success at the IAAF U20 World Championships.
Photo Credit: Roger Sedres
The Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl plays host to the 2019 Twizza ASA U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships from the Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 March. At stake is a place on the South African team to the CAA African U18 and U20 Championships in the Ivory Coast from Saturday, 13 to Saturday, 20 April 2019.
The age group championships are the breeding ground for the next generation of stars who will follow in the footsteps of Caster Semenya, Akani Simbine, Wayde van Niekerk and Luvo Manyonga, to name but a few.
Not only does it provide the athletes with the opportunity to perform at the highest level in South Africa, but it also exposes the next generation of athletes to the mechanics of a major championship from call rooms to heats and finals; a media presence, not to mention the aspect of travel and staying in locations that they are not necessarily used to. The age group championships are therefore the first steps to greatness.
Some athletes who stepped up to the plate as U18s have already made a successful transition to the U20s. Sokwakhana “Soks” Zazini and Zeney van der Walt won Gold in the 400m hurdles at the World U18 Championships in 2017, leading South Africa to the top of the medal table. Last year, they repeated that success at the IAAF U20 World Championships. Both started their careers at the South African U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships and have made the transition to great junior athletes with the potential to make big inroads into the senior ranks in a few years to come. Both will be in action at this year’s Twizza ASA U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships from 28 – 30 March in Paarl.
In 2017 at the World U18 Championships, South Africa did a unique double with Tshenolo Lemao and Retshiditswe Mlenga going 1-2 in the 100m and then reversing the roles in the 200m. Both were selected because of their feats at the ASA Youth and Junior Championships and both will be in Paarl. Mlenga is the defending 100m, but will be keen to improve on his bronze medal in the 200m.
Rose Xeyi missed the U18 100m SA record by the narrowest of margins in 2018, by a mere 0.05sec. In 2019 she will be competing in the U20 age category and has to be one of the favourites.
Gontse Morake is one of the most versatile athletes around, still under 18 she could rake in the medals on the weekend. Morake had set the U18 SA record in the 400m hurdles, won the 400m and triple jump titles at the CAA Southern Region Youth Championships and Africa Youth Games 400mh title in Algeria.
The 2019 Twizza ASA U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships is the perfect preparation ground for the next generation and there is clearly an upsurge in performances in the age groups, which can only be positive for the sport.
EVENT INFORMATION: Twizza ASA U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships
|Date:||Thursday, 28 March 2019 – Saturday, 30 March 2019|
|Venue:||Dal Josaphat Stadium (Paarl)|
|Time:||· Morning sessions will start at 07:00 on all three days.
· Afternoon sessions will begin at 14:00 on the opening day and at 15:00 on days two and three.
The full programme of events will be available on the ASA website.
|Entry Fee:||FREE for competing athletes|
|Events:||Hurdles, Shot Put, Pole Vault, Javelin Throw, High Jump, Long Jump, Hammer Throw, Triple Jump, Decathlon, 1500m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 5000m, 10000m, 800m, 3000m Steeple Chase, 20km Walk, 4x 100m Relay and 4x 400m Relay.|
For further information on the Twizza ASA U18 and U20 Track & Field Championships please email email@example.com or visit www.stillwatersports.com
A proudly South African carbonated soft drink, Twizza was created in 2003. We pride ourselves on providing the consumer with an authentic taste experience that rivals the global brands.
About Athletics South Africa:
Athletics South Africa (ASA) is the national governing body for the sport of athletics (including Track and Field, Cross Country, Road Running and Race Walking) in South Africa, is a member of the IAAF and the Confederation of African Athletics. The association is based in Johannesburg.