South Africa's athletics team produced one of its finest ever performances at the World IAAF Championship. Team SA topped the event's 2017 IAAF U/18 age group. The games were hosted in Nairobi, Kenya.
Team SA jumped ahead of China with 11 medals, and stellar performances from our track and field athletes caught the eye of the nation, more especially gold winner Breyton Poole.
These wins show South African athletics is on the verge of perhaps global domination and actually fulfilling our potential as athletics giants.
Team SA Topped the charts with 5 Golds, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze
- Tshenolo Lemao, 100m - Gold
- Retshidisitswe Mlenga, 200m - Gold
- Sokwakhana Zazini, 400m Hurdles - Gold
- Breyton Poole, High Jump - Gold
- Zeney Van Der Walt, 400m Hurdles - Gold
- Retshidisitswe Mlenga, 100m - Silver
- Tshenolo Lemao, 200m - Silver
- Johannes Schlebusch, Javelin - Silver
- Jonathan De Lacey Lacey, Shot Put - Bronze
- Morne Brandon, Discus Throw - Bronze
- South Africa U/18, 4x400m Relay - Bronze
It is the first time that South Africa achieved such a feat and South Africa crowned their first ever U/18 200m champion in Retshidisitswe Mlenga.
Poole stole the show with his sheer size and determination. The 1,7m tall athlete jumped over 2,24m to claim gold in the high jump.
South African athletics and transformation
It seems Athletics South Africa found the formula to transform national athletics with a cast of worldwide superstars such as Wayde Van Niekerk, Caster Semenya and new young champions Tshenolo Lemao and Breyton Poole.
Usually, countries in global athletics events have one or two superstars dominating certain events. Jamaica's Usain Bolt rules the speed track, while Britain's Mo Farah is often the benchmark for long distances.
With the success of the U/18 team, it's clear South Africa has created a group of able competitors across track and field. Kgotso Mokoena excels at high jump, while Caster Semenya owns the 800m run. Akani Simbine came second behind Bolt in Monaco over the weekend. Poole is our latest newcomer, and looks set to dominate his code.
These successes add on to the global status of Olympians Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk. In swimming, Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Bergh rank among the top athletes in the world. Le Clos has even been said to take over from pool-dominating Michael Phelps, while Van Niekerk has been pipped as the heir to Bolt's throne.
ASA seems to be the nation's frontrunner as our dominate global sporting code. Cricket South Africa, the South African Football Association and the South African Rugby Union have failed to live up to expectations of global domination in recent years. Not since the Springboks' IRB World Cup win in France in 2007 has a national team won an international event.
And we couldn't say it better than our winners themselves.
South African athletics is alive. Thats a fact.— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) July 16, 2017