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Sprinters Roto, Leotlela star at nationals
- Updated: April 2, 2016
Thando Roto and Gift Leotlela led the way on Friday, as Gauteng North’s powerful sprint team continued to dominate on day two of the ASA Sub-Youth, Youth, Junior and Under-23 Championships at Germiston Stadium, Johannesburg.
Roto, pictured above, stormed to victory in the U-23 men’s 100m final, with the 20-year-old speedster clocking 10.16 seconds to bag the gold medal.
While his time equalled the required qualifying standard for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the performance will however not be considered as he was aided by a 2.4m/s tailwind.
Leotlela was equally impressive, despite struggling out the blocks, as he won the junior men’s short dash final in 10.21.
The powerhouse teenager matched his performance in the semifinals the previous day, again missing out on the national junior record by 0.02 and achieving the A-qualifying standard of 10.23 for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in July.
In the process, Leotlela dragged three other athletes under the B-standard of 10.55, with Phemelo Matlhabe of North West North (10.34), and Western Province stars Kyle Appel (10.43) and Ethan Noble (10.54) all achieving the required mark.
Gauteng North prodigy Malesela Senona (10.34) and Gauteng North teammates, Retshiditswe Mlenga (10.45) and Thembo Monareng (10.50) also achieved the B-standard, as they swept the medals in the youth boys’ final.
The nation’s rising sprint talent was also on show in the 200m event, where Clarence Munyai – who clocked an Olympic qualifier of 20.39 in Johannesburg last month, was the fastest athlete in the first round of the junior men’s 200m, crossing the line in 20.79.
Appel (21.31) and the Central Gauteng duo of Tebogo Selebi (21.29) and Johan van der Merwe (21.35) also met the B-qualifying standard of 21.35 for the global junior showpiece.
Senona (21.08) and Gauteng North teammate Thando Dlodlo (21.27) dipped below the mark in the opening round of the youth boys’ 200m event.
In the longer 400m sprint, a total of six athletes achieved the B-standard of 47.70 in the semifinals, with Central Gauteng’s Niki Marich (47.01), Derrick Mokaleng (47.21), Tebogo Selebi (47.38), Gauteng North’s Abongile Nkunkumana (47.15) and Braam Bisschop (47.43) achieving the feat in junior races.
Gawie Louw of Central Gauteng (46.68) was the standout performer in the penultimate round of the Youth Boys’ 400m contest.
Belindi van der Merwe of Gauteng North was the only female athlete to produce a B-standard performance without wind assistance, equalling the required mark of 1:00.75 in the Junior Women’s 400m hurdles heats.
There were 15 other athletes who achieved the B-standards in their respective sprint and hurdles events, though they were all pushed by illegal tailwinds.
On the infield, a trio of junior men achieved the B-standard mark for the Bydgoszcz spectacle in the discus throw final, with medallists Burger Lambrecht of Gauteng North (56.89) and Central Gauteng’s Patrick Duvenage (55.70) and Jason van Rooyen (55.03) all launching efforts beyond the required 55.00m distance.
The third and final day of action at the national age group championships will be held at Germiston Stadium on Saturday.
Picture of Roto courtesy of Roger Sedres/Gallo Images