Youngsters in spotlight | SASCOC - SASCOC

Youngsters in spotlight

This weekend’s Yellow Pages Junior and Youth championships in Germiston will give some key indicators of form in the run-in to next week’s senior championships in Durban.

Renewed interest will focus on world 800-metre champion Caster Semenya as the the Pretoria athlete continues to make her comeback from inactivity and injury.

She ran 2min 01.77sec to win the two-lapper at last weekend’s interprovincial at the same venue to show that she looks to be slowly overcoming her lower injury. Something that could hold her back slightly though is the fact that she’s entered for three races, running the 400 and 1500m events as well, so may not go all out in all three.

Mention world champions and the name Luvo Manyonga pops up. It was at this same meeting last year that he came up with an 8.05 effort in the long jump and went on to win gold at Junior World Championships in Canada and also better the national junior record to 8.19m. His best this year is an 8.05 effort.

Then there’s Justine Palframan, triple gold medallist from December’s Zone VI Games in Swaziland. The versatile sprinter picked up a hamstring injury at a schools meeting in Pretoria in early Feburary and this will be her first race since then.

Explained her father and coach, Steve: “She’s trained as much as she can but we’re not going to Germiston with any huge expectation. Her problem is that she hasn’t done any speedwork since the injury. Normally she’d also run the 200m at a meeting like this but we’re also planning on her running seniors in Durban next weekend so we’ll just have to see how it goes here.”

Her battle with Sonja van Wyk will be an interesting one. Van Wyk (54.06) and Palframan (43.27) were the quickest Under-20 and Under-18 athlete in the country last year but Palframan’s 52.88 she ran in Swaziland is still awaiting ratification.