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US based De Beer back to give his best for SA
- Updated: August 27, 2013
ÔÇ£Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.ÔÇØ ÔÇô Gerhard de Beer, one of South Africa’s foremost young discus throwers, has taken this advice, given to him by his dad, Johan, to heart.
This is why he didn’t hesitate for a moment to take advantage of the opportunity to study at the University of Arizona when it came up. De Beer has already broadened his horizons in the ‘States’. He is not there only to throw discus, he is also trying to make the university’s gridiron team.
This does not at all mean that he has forsaken his dream to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games. ÔÇ£I am still passionate about athletics and to represent South Africa at the Games is still my main goal. Gridiron is just an interesting new challenge.ÔÇØ
De Beer’s decision to further his athletics career in the USA, must serve as a warning to the decision makers of athletics in South Africa. Like De Beer, other young athletes are fully aware of the infighting and politics that are seemingly constantly present in South African athletics and it worries them because there seems to be no future for them in the sport any longer.
According to De Beer, this uncertainty certainly played a part in his decision to take up the offer to study at the University of Arizona.
He has specially come back from Arizona to represent South Africa at the African Junior Athletics Championship in Mauritius (29 August to 1 September). The team will fly out on Tuesday.
It will not be surprising if De Beer should medal, because he has proven over the past three years that he is capable of handling the ‘big moment’. In 2011 he won a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships, as well as a gold medal at the Youth Commonwealth Games. A year later he won a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships.
He is the South African Under-18 record holder in the discus (67.44-metres) and his throw of 61.64m ranks him fourth on the all-time list for South African junior athletes.
He is currently 18th on the IAAF junior rankings with a throw of 58.75m. His teammate, Jan-Louw Kotz├®, is currently ranked 15th with a throw of 59.10m.
Other possible medal contenders are:
Constant Pretorius who is ranked seventh best in the world in the 400-hurdles with a time of 53.64sec
Only 11 athletes in the world have currently run a faster time than Tiaan Smit’s 13.51 in the 110-hurdles
Duwayne Boer’s best jump of 7.81m in the long jump is the 12th best so far in international junior athletics.
At the 2011 African Junior Championship in Gaberone, South Africa topped the medal table with a total of 34 medals (13 gold, 13 silver and eight bronze); followed by Ethiopia with 17 medals and Egypt with 11 medals.