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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'The best is yet to come' - Geldenhuys, Jospehs & Ramokgopa set ASA Senior Track & Field Champs alight

On a scorching hot day in Pietermaritzburg Zeney Geldenhuys set fire to the Msunduzi Athletics Stadium track. The 23-year-old clocked the second fastest time of her career to win her fourth national title. But for her blazing run at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) Senior Track & Field Championships, the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist has Rogail Josephs to thank for lighting the match.

"Well you can’t always go into a race and think I’m gonna run and win by 100m. So it is very exciting to know that there are girls pushing me, because without them it’s difficult to run great times. I’m ecstatic and I’m truly blessed to know that I could run the Olympic qualifying time," she said.

Geldenhuys and Jospehs to head-to-head in the final of the women's 400m hurdles at the 2024 ASA Senior Track & Field Championships. Photo Credit: Cecilia van Bers.

Now training under coach Paul Gorries at the University of the North West, Josephs seems to be finally delivering on the talent that saw her win the African U20 title back in 2019. Her career best 54.84 yesterday to finish second behind Geldenhuys was her second personal best in as many months after she won the gold medal at the African Games in Ghana in 55.39 in March.

"I feel so good and proud of myself. I feel like I can cry. It’s the first time that I get so close to the winner at SA Seniors, so I feel like I’m on the right road and I feel like the best is yet to come and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for me. I started with a new training group under coach Paul Gorries and he really did a great job. I’m so excited to see what we can produce."

Schoolgirl Ramakgopa downs the seniors in a sub 58 second clocking at the ASA Grand Prix Meeting at the University of Johannesburg on 27 March, 2023. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

As if two Olympic qualifiers in the same race weren’t enough there was also a national U18 record. The mercurial Tumi Rmokgopa ran her their sub 58 second clocking of the season as she stopped the clock in 57.04 to earn the bronze medal. The 16-year-old is now the fastest U18 girl in the world this year, while she also eclipsed the previous SA U18 record of 57.47 set by Name Nel when she took fourth position at the World Athletics U20 Champions in Colombia in 2022.

"Yoh! That was tough, especially with the wind. But I ran it well. I maintained myself where I had to and where I had to fight, I had to. This whole season has been surprising. Every race is a shock and I am grateful, especially at my age. The Lord has blessed me with wonderful things. Wow! I’m speechless, but mostly I am grateful."

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