• Charles Baloyi

Potch to host first ACNW track meet of the year tonight!

Athletics Central North West (ACNW) will host its first track meeting at the Puk McArthur Stadium in Potchefstroom today. ACNW got the green light to host its first track meeting from Athletics SA (ASA) last week. They submitted a proposal to ASA requesting permission to organize the meeting. President and respected athletics coach Jean Verster said the eagerly awaited track meeting will start at 3pm and finish at 9pm.


SA's top sprinters in action at the 2017 SA Senior Track and Field Championships at the McArthur Stadium in Potchefstroom. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

"We are good to go and happy that ASA approved our proposal to host this meeting. We will adhere to the Covid-19 pandemic regulations. We have a limited number of entries and we will not allow more than 250 people in the stadium. When you are finished with your event, you have to leave the stadium. You will shower and eat at home," said an excited Verster who was busy with the final touches when he spoke to #TheTopRunner


The 2017 SA Sports Awards coach of the year recipient said Tuesdays will never be the same again in Potchefstroom. Every Tuesday ACNW will hold meetings and invite top athletes from all over the country. 400m world record holder (43.03) Wayde Van Niekerk could be one of the headline act at tonight's first meeting. The reigning Olympic champion took part in the first meeting after lockdown in Potch in November last year, using the competition to mark his return from a long-term injury. Verster said they plan to invite big-name athletes such as Akani Simbine and Caster Semenya to one of their meetings to motivate the youngster not to lose hope during these difficult times.


Jean Verster gives a young athlete some pointers. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

“We want to make Potch the destination of choice. It is for the love of sport and we do not want to see it die. We will limit a certain number of entries and we want to assist athletes to get back into the competitive spirit," said Verster. He said there would be a variety of events on offer including 100m, 200m, 150m, 400m, 600m, long jump, the mile, and 3000m. "We will have a few field events and odd events. It is the first of many meetings and we want to see the reaction of athletes first before we can go crazy about the event. From what I could gather there is excitement all around and everyone wants to take part in our event," he said.


SA 5000m record holder (13:04.88) and Potch great Elroy Gelant, who is a Human Resource official at the North West University, will take on the 3000m. The 2016 Olympian trains in Potch and will use the meeting to gauge his fitness following an injury which saw him return to training in January. Gelant's name has been penciled into SA's Olympic Preparation squad after he qualified for the marathon alongside Stephen Mokoka and Desmond Mokgobu. Gelant is coached by Verster and the two are excited about getting a chance to compete for the first time in months.

Running in the colours of ACNW, Elroy Gelant qualifies for the Olympic Games after running 2:10:30 to place fourth. He will be in action in the 3 000m in Potch tonight. Photo Credit: Elroy Gelant.

Last year, ACNW hosted six meetings and the plan is to better that number this year. Verster, who has also coached Caster Semenya and Botswana 800m Olympic silver medalist Nigel Amos, said athletes need a break and this meeting will make a huge difference in their Olympic preparations. Verster is hoping that the event will be a resounding success. "In terms of the preparations we have done all that we could. We have left no stone unturned. The stage is set for athletes to perform and get their season back on track," added Verster.

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