Wet Second Day Dampens SA Champs


Day two of the SA Track and Field Championships in Potchefstroom came to a soggy end as persistent rain meant numerous events had to be postponed until Saturday, but there were still some highlights worth mentioning. – BY KARIEN JONCKHEERE

In spite of persistently wet condition during the second day of the national champs meet, an absorbing men’s triple jump competition was decided by just one centimetre as Lleyton Davids (pictured above) secured a third consecutive national title, with a leap of 16.92m. Welre Olivier just missed out on gold with a best of 16.91m, while his 17-year-old brother, Ethan Welre, wasn’t far behind, securing the bronze medal with a jump of 16.85m.

Based in Vereeniging after their parents returned to the country from New Zealand, the Olivier brothers have been rewriting the Kiwi record books in recent months. In February, Welre broke the senior national New Zealand record, which had stood for 45 years, with a jump of 16.48m. Ethan bettered the under-20 record with a leap of 16.22m. Although longer, Friday’s jumps won’t count as new records, unfortunately, as they were wind-assisted.

Olivier is a familiar name in triple-jumping circles, with the boys’ father and coach, Wikus, having held the South African record of 16.89m from 1994 to 2004, when it was broken by Khotso Mokoena’s leap of 16.96m. Olympic long jump silver medallist Mokoena went on to better that with a 17.35m effort in 2014 – a record that still stands. “I am very proud of the boys, we worked hard the whole year,” said a proud Wikus afterwards. “It’s just a pity the wind was a bit strong. This was the best triple jump competition in years, with three jumpers so close to 17m.”

Painful Exit for Adams

Elsewhere, there was despair for Luxolo Adams in his 200m semi-final. The World Championship finalist pulled up in the home straight and was ruled out of being able to challenge for a first national title since 2018. Adams is hopeful that it’s nothing serious, and said, “It was just a cramp, very sensitive pulling, but we’ll get it sorted within the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, we get a positive result tomorrow when I go for a scan, and we’ll take it from there,”

He added, “I started feeling it approaching the 100m mark… I wanted to continue, but it was just too sensitive. Now the focus is on recovering well and getting back on the track. I’m very disappointed, but this is sport, and these things are there for us as athletes. I’m just going to keep my head up and keep on training and keep on coming back.”

As for his plans for the rest of the season, Adams said, “We’ll see how the season goes, but I still believe there’s more in the tank. I can still go sub-20 seconds. Training has been good, there hasn’t been anything off. These were just unforeseen circumstances, but I’ll remain positive, like I said, and focus on the season.”

In Adams’ absence, Eckhart Potgieter (20.63), Tsebo Matsotso (20.48) and Armand van der Walt (20.70) won their respective 200m semi-finals. In the women’s 200m semi-finals, Shirley Nekhubui (23.12) and Miranda Coetzee (23.01) won their heats and progressed to the final, with Coetzee looking to do an ambitious double in the 200m and 400m, with both finals being contested on Saturday.

Photograph by Cecilia van Bers