Athletics Has risen

In an attempt to get the attention of the ‘big guns’ of South Africa for their #FeesMustFall movement, students across the country at almost every university took a stand and achieved what almost deemed impossible. Athletics, on the other hand, has been going through a ‘dip’ in recent years which has left the sport at an almost all-time low. But I think it’s about time that the South African public, businesses and the world know that Athletics South Africa has risen; however, we want more.

The past two weeks of exciting Track & Field across the country is reason enough why South Africa should pay more attention to what’s happening on the track. Don’t get me wrong, I’m  not saying dim the lights of other sports, all I’m saying is that it’s about time that the sport (athletes, coaches and support teams) get the attention they deserve. In a matter of two weeks, Wayde van Niekerk made history by becoming the first athlete to EVER run a sub 10 second 100m, sub 20 second 200m and sub 44 second 400m, Akani Simbine opened his season with a personal best and newWomens 100m national record 9.96 second 100m, the fastest season- opener since the legendary Frankie Fredericks.

Not stopping there, we had Carina Horn and Alyssa Conley battle it out in the women’s 100m dash which saw both of them clocking fast 11.22 and 11.29 second 100m Olympic qualification times. Caster Semenya (who needs no introduction), on the other hand, ran a quick 51.47 second 400m personal best which tells us that she is in the best shape of her life; so I think we can now proclaim that Caster Semenya is back ladies and gentleman.  Included in this group of elite athletes are comeback king Luvo Manyonga who qualified for Olympics twice in the Long Jump with 8.20m and 8.30m leaps, Ruswahl Samaai who jumped a 8.18m in a head-wind, Wenda Nel who just missed Olympic qualification for a none-specialist 400m event, Lebogang Shange who is currently ranked number 1 in IAAF race-walk challenge standings and a hungry Lynique Prinsloo who seems so ready for any obstacle coming her way. 1

The leading men’s middle/long distance runners in South Africa Johan Cronje, Dumisani Hlaselo, Steven Mokoka and Elroy Gelant are in good shape leading up to national championships in April. Not forgetting our stars Anaso Jobodwana, Cornel Fredericks, LJ van Zyl, Sunet Viljoen, Willem Coertzen, Wayne Snyman, Gladwin Mzazi, Marc Mundell, Henricho Bruintjies, Ncinci Titi, Justine Palframan and many more.

These athletes and their coaches deserve the recognition and support of the public, businesses and whoever wants to lend a helping hand. For me, an athlete like Wayde van Niekerk should be walking in the public and signing autographs, not walking unnoticed. Look, the athletes’ performances alone tell us that the sport has risen, but now we just need the deserved appreciation and recognition for the track stars! I’d urge any Track & Field lover to talk about our beautiful sport, post about the great performances, support the athletes and coaches, fill up stadiums to watch the beautiful sport, encourage the youngsters to partake in the sport and do whatever you can to let the world know that South African has risen…


Written by Reggie Hufkie