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SA’s Swanepoel wins gold at World Championships

South Africa’s Helene Swanepoel scorched to an historic gold medal at the IAAF World Youth Athletics Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine on Saturday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Young Swanepoel, who turns 17 next month, won the girls’ 400m hurdles title in a world-leading 58.08 seconds.

Victory means that Swanepoel is the first South African girl to win gold in a girls’ sprint event at World Youth Championships.

She beat Barbados athlete Tia-Adana Belle (58.42) and Germany’s Lisa-Marie Jacoby (58.75).

Earlier in the year Swanepoel had ended third at the SA Open Championships in Potchfstroom with a then SA youth record 48.48sec.

Formerly from Ellisras in North West Province, Swanepoel now lives just outside Wellington in the Western Cape and is a pupil at Paarl Gymnasium.


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