Proudly brought to you by FNB, Wimpy and Samsung, the 2018 Varsity Athletics series kicks off on Friday, 2 March at Tuks’ newly renovated Stadium.
With Justine Palframan, the former world university 400m champion, and Malisela Senona, a former Region 5 Games double gold medalist, among the star athletes registered to compete, spectators are in for faster, further and higher track and field action.
Providing a world-class platform such as Varsity Athletics to upcoming and hungry future stars can only result in faster, more powerful and explosive accomplishments. Already established names such as Jo-Ane van Dyk (NWU), newbies Malisela Senona and Thembo Monareng (Tuks), seasoned campaigner Justine Palframan (Maties), multiple South African champion, Rantso Mokopane (NWU), and Madibaz’s throwing queen, Ischke Senekal, are all set to bring the heat to Tuks’ Mondo track on Friday.
At a track and field meet in Cape Town in December last year, Senekal heaved a 16.50m Commonwealth Games qualifier in the women’s Shot Put. On top of that, she also provided a massive throw of 54.42m to win the Discus Throw competition. The Port Elizabeth-based athlete heads to Pretoria full of confidence, and by the looks of it, she will again be in a class of her own.
Like Senekal, Mokopane has carved out a name for himself as the student-athlete to beat in any distance ranging between 1500m and 5000m. In windy conditions late last year, also in Cape Town, the NWU stalwart cruised to a 3min45sec 1500m victory after battles wind the South Easter wind…of course the wind proved the stronger one. Needless to say, his social media posts suggest he has been hard at work under the guidance of his new coach, Spring Phakathe, during the December holidays, so we might be in for a very fast 1500m battle in the capital city.
Maties Athletics’ Palframan, meanwhile, has been going about her business quietly. Having switched coaches last year, her performances improved tremendously and when, not if, the weather conditions play along on Friday, she might provide the surprise performance of the meet. A sub 23sec 200m should be on the cards for the Olympian.
Thembo Monareng & Malisela Senona
Talking about times, let’s have a look at the times of the University of Pretoria’s newest junior sprinting aces, Thembo Monareng and Malisela Senona. Bouncing back from injury with a 10.34 sec 100m win at Ruimsig at the end of January, the former Region 5 Games double gold medalist will have a mouthful to say when he does the talking in the men’s 100m on his home turf. The 2017 national junior 100m champion, Monareng, clearly also means business after he exploded out of his blocks and finished his first race in 10.37sec at the same meet in Ruimsig.
Since Anaso Jobodwana made the Olympic finals in the men’s 200m six years ago, the sport has enjoyed an influx of new talent, so whether it’s a new recruit or experienced athlete, world class performances can be expected from all South African athletes. Come expectant on Friday.
By Reginald Hufkie