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SA’s future stars take on the world in Colombia

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s next generation of track and field stars are in Cali, Colombia for the IAAF World Youth Championships which start on Wednesday.
And the 25-strong squad (15 boys, 10 girls) will be hoping to continue SA’s resurgence in this code after a recent spate of success around the globe.
Team captains are Bloemfontein sprinter Tlotliso Gift Leotlela and Pretoria hurdler Taylon Bieldt, the latter a member of Team SA at both the African Youth Games and the Youth Olympic Games last year.
As part of the fine-tuning the team had a training camp in Potchefstroom late last month were athletes were put throughout their paces and underwent medical testing.
Former Olympic silver medallist Hezekiel Sepeng addressed the squad during the camp: ‘I shared some of my experiences with the athletes, especially from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, US,’ says Sepeng.
‘Some of the athletes took part in Europe as part of their build-up and we saw Theuns Ehlers run a personal best 1min 49sec in the 800m.
‘Others took part in the African event in Mauritius where we topped the medals table. The 800m runners did especially well there, considering Kenya and Ethiopia are such a force in middle-distances running. Liza Kellerman also won the 800m in Mauritus.
‘Some of the team are among the top five in the world youth rankings, to name a few: Mpho Tladi (110m hurdles), Tlotliso, Burger Lambrechts, jun (shot put), Taylon and Liza.’


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