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Junior athletes on a medal hunt

By Gareth Duncan in Lusaka, Zambia

Team South Africa’s athletics squad is targeting 51 out of a possible 60 medals at the Zone VI Games.

The athletics at the Zone VI Games starts on Tuesday, and will run until Friday.

With the swimmers excelling in the pool at the tournament and striking gold in all their events, the track and field juniors are inspired to do just as well.

The athletics team won 25 medals at the last Zone VI Games meeting in Swaziland in 2010, but head coaches Elias Matenje and Maritza Coetzee are confident they can double that tally.

‘We have the best available juniors here in Lusaka,’ Coetzee told RoadtoRio.co.za. ‘We are missing some athletes because of injury [like 110m hurdle world champion Andries vam der Merwe], but we should still do well.

‘With the swimmers setting the momentum early on, we are looking forward to adding to their success.’

Fifty medals will be an impressive achievement considering there is a two-event restriction on each athlete.

Matenje added that they will get stiff competition from Namibia and Botswana.

‘Botswana have Nijel Amos in their squad – the 800m athlete who ran a 1:41 [1:41.73] at the Olympics,’ said Matenje. ‘That’s very fast. We’ll have to do very well to beat that kind of talent.’


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