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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Weir's Olympic dream becoming a reality

South African shot put starlet Zane Weir is still in disbelief that he has managed to qualify for the Olympic Games. Weir who was born in Amanzimtoti south of Durban, surpassed the Olympic qualification standard by over a centimetre and set a new personal when he threw 21:11cm in Potchefstroom on Tuesday night . Reflecting on this performance, the 25-year-old says he didn't expect to hit that distance so early. But his training indicated that 2021 would be a good year.

"The training has gone phenomenally well, especially in early January," elaborates Weir. "I was super disciplined over November and December. It was a very difficult time to be disciplined for me as I haven't seen my family in a long time. So coming home under those sentiments, it was really difficult to remain disciplined. That was a challenging time for me and I'm happy it paid off. My training camp in Stellenbosch in January with my coach Paulo (Dal Soglio), and training partner Neo, we just went from strength to strength," said Weir who had been training in Italy before returning to South Africa.

Weir in action in the mens U23 shot at the SA Sub-Youth, Youth, Junior and U/23 Track and Field Championships at the Germiston Stadium in April 2016. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

"I set a target to go beyond 20:50 and get a personal best. It was surprising that I managed to reach it early but the training we have put in was amazing. You could say I was surprised but training indicated that I deserve it," he said. His coach Dal Soglio has provided the depth of knowledge of the sport required to produce high performance, which is something he lacked in the past. The two have been working together since late 2019 and Dal Soglio needs no introduction in Shot Put discipline as he is a 26-time former Italian champion.

"I got the Italian coach now Paolo. And he has been a big contributor to my success," explains Weir. "Of course I have been consistent and disciplined but Paolo's knowledge of the sport, especially the technical side of things as well as his strict conditioning programming has been really good. We have been together for a year now, and I know every athlete's body is different but he understands what my body needs now. Our relationship is still developing and it can only get better and better."

Weir threw 20,70m in September 2020 which was the sixth furtherest throw in Italian history. Photo Credit: Zane Weir.

The University of Cape Town graduate is predicting a good year for shot put in the country and hopes his compatriots will be motivated by his performance. "I'm really positive with the future of Shot Put in South Africa. There are two guys now Jason Van Rooyen and Kayle Blignaut and they have been doing very well. But seeing me doing very well has given them a fire. They have come a long way in a short space of time and I think that has to come with a competitive spirit. Seeing me doing well motivated them. I think if they can continue what they are doing we can only get better as we never had two guys throwing well as they have in South Africa. And I think they are still 24 or 23 years old. I think the future of shot put in South Africa is fantastic," he said.

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