Shabangu shines at Twizza Super School Series
"I just want to tell people not to give up," were Banele Shabangu's words moments after scorching to a commanding 11.67 to win the Girls U19 100m during the first regional qualifier of the Twizza Super School Series Regional Qualifier yesterday. The 19-year old was speaking in reference to the disappointment she suffered after being omitted from the World Junior Championships squad which represented South Africa at the World Athletics U20 competition in Kenya last month.
"I came across a huge challenge. I was disappointed and felt like I'm not being given a chance to prove myself," she told #TheTopRunner when asked how she bounced back from being left behind with a new personal best over her preferred distance. Although the reigning national U20 100m and 200m champion had been a medal contender going into the competition, Athletics South Africa (ASA) left her out of the team at the last minute. A positive Covid19 test was believed to be the reason for her omission.
Although it would later emerge that the test may have been a false positive, World Athletics rules around Covid19 tests meant that ASA were unable to include the Barberton-born runner who was left behind when the team departed for Nairobi. "But I had to lift my head up and remember that there's always a next time. If God didn't want you to do this, there's always another time. Don't give up. So I'm not gonna let whatever happened in the last few months define who I am," said the Matric pupil who will sit for her final exams in a few weeks before probably going on to the University of Pretoria next year.
Meanwhile Shabangu's Prestige College teammate Precious Molepo put in an equally scintillating performance at the Ruimsig Stadium yesterday. Molepo ran a new PB in the Girls U17 200m in a time of 24.14 seconds, before securing the top spot on the podium in the Girls U17 400m with an impressive solo run of 54.16 seconds minutes before the rain came down and halted the meet.
Those results leave Prestige second behind Höerskool Menlopark after the first regional meeting which featured schools from Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, The North West and Free State provinces. Menlopark top the overall standings on 35440 points, a mere 560 points ahead of their fellow City of Tshwane school. Regional Qualifier #2 of The Twizza Super School Series featuring coastal schools is next at the Greenpoint Athletics Stadium on Saturday 23 October.