By VINCENT CRUYWAGEN
Parents, supporters and coaches witnessed stellar performances from athletes at the Western Province Athletics 2nd League meeting held at the Parow track on Saturday.
University of Stellenbosch long jump sensation, Samantha Pretorius, set the tone for the day with a leap of 5.91m to clinch first spot in a tightly contested event. She had stiff competition from UWC competitors Samantha Ross (5.65m) and Nicole Dirk (5.28m) who placed second and third, respectively. Another Matie athlete preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, later this year is Mandie Brandt who ran a time of 4:31.16 in the women’s 1500m finishing ahead of Anel Terblanche of KPMG who finished in 4:51.94.
The highlight of the afternoon was the scintillating performance by the African and South African champion in the 110m hurdles, Antonio Alkana, who sprinted to the finish line in a time of 13.74 seconds. Alkana, the Bellville Athletic Club star, outclassed the field and has his eyes set on the upcoming IAAF World Indoor Championship in Portland, Oregeon in the USA, next month. The event takes place from 17- 20 March, where he will compete in the 60m hurdles.
“I’m quite happy with how my preparations for the World Indoor’s is progressing and satisfied with the winning time at today’s Parow meeting. The IAAF meeting in Portland will be my first indoor challenge and I’m looking forward to the experience. Whatever time I record in Portland will be a milestone,” said Alkana.
Another UWC athlete who stole the limelight was Anthony Timoteus who ran from start to finish with consummate ease in the 3000m. His winning time was 8:27.31 minutes. It was an impeccable display by the athlete, showing he is ready to test his mettle against the best in the world at next month’s World University Cross Country Championship to be held the city of Cassino, Italy. More information can be found at http://www.wuccrosscountry2016.com/program/. Timoteus will be running in the mile at Friday evening’s Varsity Athletics meeting taking place in Coetzenburg, Stellenbosch. http://varsitysportssa.com/athletics/.
Many international visiting athletes compete in the WP League meetings and on Saturday, Bulgarian triple jump specialist, Georgi Tsonov, clinched both the triple jump (16.38m) and long jump (7.35m) events. Recently, the local meets were graced by race walkers from Slovakia as well as members of Aspire Academy from Qatar.
It is evident that athletes use the invaluable experience gained at the WP Athletics meetings as a springboard for future success and these competitions are the perfect place where future stars are discovered.