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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Records tumble as Walaza runs 10.13 on Day 1 of the ASA U16, U18, U20 Champs

Of all the thrilling 100m performances on day one of the Athletics South Africa U16, U18 and U20 Championships yesterday, two stood out about the rest. Bayanda Walaza brought the crowd at the Pilditch Stadium to their feet when he won the Men's U20 race in a lightening-quick 10.13 - a new personal best that also saw the Athletics Gauteng North man drag six other athletes under the qualifying standard for the World Athletics U20 Championships to be held in Peru in August.

Walaza wins the men's U20 100m title at the ASA U16, U18 and U20 Championships. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

While the way in which Walaza won the race was what made it exciting, Naeem Jack's win in the men's U18 100m dash was entertaining because it was unexpected. The 110m hurdles specialist crossed the finish line in 10.38 to win his race by just one one-hundredth of a second from a fast-finishing Mukona Manavhela of Central Gauteng Athletics. The Western Province Athletics top runner who won the national U18 200m and the African U18 110m Hurdles titles last year says winning the flat race came as a surprise and a massive confidence booster ahead of his specialist event.

"It was a surprise to me because the goal for this year was just to focus on the 110m hurdles and by doing that I decided to do the 100m and not the 200m because it doesn't put as much lactic into your legs. So I decided to just for the 100m and the outcome was 10.3 which was beyond my expectations and I'm really grateful. It's always great to compete at this level and I feel honoured and appreciate to compete at this level," he told #TheTopRunner.

Naeem Jack wins the U18 100m title ahead of a fast-finishing Mukona Manavhela. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

Another star shone brightly in the 100m. Micah Africa, representing Boland Athletics (BOLA), was phenomenal in the U16 Boys 100m event, setting a new SA best of 10.83 in the semi-finals and going on to win gold in the final in 10.73, improving his own new mark. In the Girls U16 100m hurdles, Megan Nieman (AGN) stunned her opponents by setting a national best in the first-round heats, dipping on the line in 12.44. In the U20 women's 100m final, national record holder Viwe Jingqi (ACNW) won gold in 11.34 to secure her spot on the plane to South America alongside silver medalist (11.66) medallist Kaili Botje of Central Gauteng Athletics and bronze medalist Charne Wansbury (11.71) of Athletics Free State.

In the field events, Temoso Masikane of Athletics North West North (ANWN) also hit the qualifying mark in the U20 Men'ss long jump final, winning gold with a leap of 7.71m, as did Dwight McCloen (ACNW) who landed at 7.58m to secure second position. Alicia Khunou (AGN), who produced a 15.11m heave, as well as discus throwers Johannes Marais of Boland (BOLA) who won gold with a best attempt of 62.01m, and Wesley Badenhorst (AGN) who bagged silver with a 58.33m effort.

ASA President James Moloi said the wealth of junior and youth talent which saw over twenty athletes qualify for the World Athletics U20 Championships bodes well for the future of South African athletics. "Congratulations to our nation's talented young athletes for stepping up and delivering across the board on day one of the national championships. This event provides an opportunity for individuals across a range of age groups to not only

compete against the best in the country, but to break new ground and achieve qualifying

standards for major international events, and we are delighted to see them producing such

fantastic performances."

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