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SA’s Visser one of five global athletes who gets to train with Olympic champion
- Updated: August 11, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
World Youth discus champion Werner Visser is going places, in more ways than one.
Visser, who won South Africa’s first medal at this year’s World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia last month, has now been selected to wear the green and gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa next month.
But it gets better with the news that the 17-year-old Hoërskook Zwartkop pupil’s achievements have not gone unnoticed in the higher echelons of world athletics.
World and Olympics decathlon champion Ashton Eaton features in an IAAF project whereby he selects five athletes who impressed him at the World Youth Championships. Once he made his selection the quintet would join him in Eugene, Oregon for an all-expenses paid three-day training trip.
And good news for South African athletics is that Visser is one of those five athletes, along with Ecuador’s Maribel Vanessa Caicedo (100m hurdles), America’s Candace Hill (100m), Germany’s Niklas Kaul (decathlon) and Brunei’s Salwa Eid Naser (400m).
In his assessment Eaton said of Visser: ‘It’s surprisingly difficult to perform when it counts in a technical event.’
For his part, the Pierre Blignaut-coached Visser is over the moon: ‘Firstly it’s a huge honour and privilege to be chosen because I’m only of five athletes in the whole world!’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
‘It means so much to me and I just know that I’m going to learn lots, especially how to prepare like an Olympic champion and for other big championships.
‘I haven’t thrown competitively since Colombia and my first competition since then will be Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.’
Eaton’s training camp will be held in March, 2016 after which the five athletes will stay on in Oregon and attend the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon as invited guests.