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Two medals give SA hope

Luvo Manyonga’s gold medal in the long jump and a bronze from Tazmin Brits in the javelin shows there is a rosy future for embattled track and field in SA, as the curtain came down on Team SA’s campaign at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada today.

SA’s track and field scene needs new heroes and characters to bring some hope to a sport full of political disruption and in-fighting and the Class of 2010 can definitely come to the party on this front.

Boland’s Manyonga will take home with him fond memories of his last and winning leap of 7.99 metres on Wednesday, while 30 minutes earlier, Potchefstroom-based Brits had thrown the javelin to the 54.55 metres mark to finish third overall.

Luck certainly did not travel with Team SA to Moncton, and speedster Wayde van Niekerk deserved even better than his fine performance.

Free State sprinter Van Niekerk went to Moncton with hopes and dreams and left as the fourth fastest sprinter in the world over 200 metres ÔÇô improving on his time in the heats, semi-finals and final to finish on 21.02.

Powerful Western Province javelin athlete Rocco van Rooyen will also make the trip home all the richer in experience having produced a career best effort of 74.13 metres in the final to place sixth.

Justine Palframan’s 200 metres time of 24.09 in the semi-finals showed definite potential as the youngest member of Team SA at just 16 years, is almost certain to progress and mature in time for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Spain.

The KwaZulu-Natal athlete, who is also a provincial level schools swimmer, certainly did not look out of her depth against more experienced opponents in the sprints.

Free Sate’s Gideon Trotter and University of Johannesburg’s Waide Jooste, who made the semi-finals of the 100 metres, plus Stellenbosch’s Shaun de Jager and Tshwane’s Jacques de Swardt who made the last 16 in the 400 metres, will also grow to the next level based on lessons learnt in Moncton.

On Saturday, Team SA’s hopes of a place in the final of the 4×400 metres relay faded away as de Jager, Pieter Marx, Le Roux Hamman and de Swardt produced a fifth placed effort of 3min 12.58sec in their heat.

In the morning session, Kobus Moolman was eliminated from the semi-finals of the 110 metres hurdles, finishing in 14.30.

By the end of Saturday’s action, Team SA were lying in a credible 13th place on the medal rankings out of the 170 participating countries.


6 comments
Antie Stander
Antie Stander

It is a pitty that ASA is now even worse after the Chuene corrupt regime - surely it must be similar to aids, this plague of arrogance. The best thing about Richard Stander is his consistency in defects - he does not hide his faults - give some credit for the little bits of transparency - all see and hear the comedy of errors - the end of his interim term is near - even his tjommies Adams and Mali must be embarrased.

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

And by the way - we also failed to enter our best 200m athlete at the World Juniors in the event and as a result we did not get any medals in that event. Gideon Trotter has shown that his 200m was far better than his 100m with a 20.87 during June but he was left out in favour of 2 athletes that he regularly beat in the 'windo period' [Waide van Niekerk - who ended 4th in that final and Sean de Klerk who did not progress into the final]. Arrogance must be substituted by level-headed thinking, the sport needs to find a way forward and those kids deserve an apology!

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Unlike Abel I don't want to name names of culprits but I must say that the kids that were left behind did get a raw deal. Read Wilhelm de Swardts article to shed some light on why I say so. Administration failure seems to hit the nail on the head though. How can we say that we have improved if the medal count has deteriorated and worse still we have now seen a blatant attempt to justify leaving kids behind that were fit to compete. Take van Rensburg as a good example- he ran a good 600m time in this window period and was in the same shape as the other runner, as well as Rikennette Steenkamp who is a very talented youngster that is the best hurdler junior or senior in the country and Bevin Smith who was as a good as the sprinter that went with the team as she proved by winning a senior university competition on 7 July in Botswana but these kids weren't taken along. Then they left out Janice Josephs who is the reigning African Long Jump record holder from the team to Nairobi[it's a wonder that Karen Mei left SA for Turkey and went on to get a medal in the long jump at the Olympics for another country], Stephen Mokoka who is coached by Semenya's coach Seme; winning anything from 1500m to half-marathon and Sibusiso Sishi who missed the qualifying time by 0.01 sec after already qualifying earlier in the year [these are facts! and he could've been part of a 4 x 400m team that won Gold the last time around. Incidently Sishi was 4th at the last African Champs so he has the potential. When are they going to account for their mistakes. In Football if the coach messes up he gets fired! In athletics you can ruin an athlete's future and still flourish and have even more power at your hands. Administration failure indeed! The facts are there just investigate the selection of the teams and you will see the inconsistencies... Those accountable must be fired!

Abel
Abel

I agree fully. So sad for the athletes that quilified initially and that were not chosen. To mention 3 names of athletes that stayed behind,Rikenette Steenkamp,Rynhardt van Rensburg and Ruan van Wyk. They could have reached the finals easy! And Justine Palframan.......she is still a youth athlete!Why not chose her for the Youth Olympics.......a sure medal lost! And another thing........without a indoor athletic facility in every province we are going to struggle with Winter preparation........by that i mean the facility must be equipped according to international standards. Congrats to Richard Stander,i know he try his best although not very popular for the team selections and wrong calculation for prize money! A bit advice for Richard.......if you are wrong and you made a mistake,say sorry and you shall earn a lot of respect. And lastly please get rid of the ambitious Pieter Lourens......what a arrogant personality...ASA do not need a personality like that!

Administration Failure!
Administration Failure!

I do not share the author’s optimism, and suspect that it is Richard stander propaganda machine at work. I am struggling to see how the future is bright for athletics in SA. One gold and one bronze places us 16th on the medal count, a very poor performance for a country of our talent pool and sporting credentials. There has been a rapid decline in the performance of our juniors over the past few years. In 2000 we won 7 medals and a further 5 athletes made their finals. In 2002 we won two gold and a further 2 made finals. In 2004 we won 6 medals and a further 5 made the finals. In 2006 we only won one medal and a paltry 3 others made the finals. In 2008 we won 3 medals and 5 athletes made their finals. Our performances have always been up and down, with our women being particularly weak, having only won 3 medals since 1992. Most of our medals have come in the throws, jumps and relays. We have no development program and it is showing. If you look at what the Germans, British, Cubans and all of a sudden the Japanese are doing, it makes sense that they are steadily climbing the ladder to the top. The Germans were absolutely astonishing in Berlin last year, all because of their development programs. The British are preparing for the 2012 Olympics and one can see the improvement. How can a little island where it rains the whole year win 8 medals at the WJC? In events across the whole spectrum, from 100m to hammer throw and everything in between. Simple. Through proper administration. They have an accountability to their administration. If the sport does not perform, you lose your job, if the sport is not financially sound, you lose your job, and if the sport is brought into disrepute you lose your job. If this was the case in South Africa ASA would have very little people working for them. And of course their sport is completely stripped of the petty politics (political and otherwise) that is killing athletics in South Africa. All athletics is about at the moment in SA is political moves behind the scenes to try and win the next election of the board. Everyone is trying to keep Chuene out, his cadres are trying to get him back in, Richard Stander is working very hard in the ASA office to get Adams in, who is using his Lotto posisition to get votes, while Evans and the rest are trying to get them out etc etc etc. One question: where the hell does the athletes and coaches fit into this? Nowhere, because athletics in SA is not about them. The successful European nations also have a very different outlook on development. We pile millions of rands into “grass roots” sport, but grass roots athletes do not win you medals on the world stage. World class athletes who train full time with full time coaches in the best conditions win medals. Most kids take up rugby or cricket and to some extent soccer because they want to be Bryan Habana or JP Duminee or Steven Pienaar when they grow up. Athletics in SA does not have heroes kids aspire to. No one takes up athletics because they want to be like an athlete. The only press athletics in SA gets is negative, in 99% of the cases at administration level. Why would any kid decide to dedicate their lives to a sport where you only have problems and it is totally impossible to make a living out of? The steady decline will continue and get worse as long as the sport is about politicians and their puppets and not about athletes and coaches.

Junior
Junior

Well done Team SA!! Well done to Rocco who after sustaining a rib injury in the qaulifying round still produced a career best effort to place 6th in the final - that's the heart thats needed in SA athletics!! Western Province are proud!! SASCOC, Please look after these youngsters - they are our future Oplympians. ASA, why dont we have a under 23 event to keep these youngsters in Athletics?