Cheyne Rahme at the South African junior championships (Mark Ouma) © Copyright
General News Germiston, South Africa

Rahme’s African Junior Pole Vault record the highlight in Germiston

An African junior record from Cheyne Rahme was the highlight of the two-day Yellow Pages South Africa Youth and Junior Championships at Germiston Stadium Ekurhuleni from 10-11 April.

Over 850 athletes from Botswana, Mauritius, Lesotho, Reunion and hosts South Africa sought to impress national team selectors for the IAAF World Junior Championships set for Moncton, Canada from 19-25 July. Thirty South Africans and Botswana’s Thapelo Ketlogetswe qualified for the championships.

Enjoying a rich vein of form, Rahme improved his Africa Junior pole vault record from 5.46m with a 5.50m clearance on his second attempt. “I was excited after the 5.50 and aimed too high going for 5.60m immediately. Although I was unsuccessful at all three attempts, I am confident I will improve on this record this year,” Rahme explained.

“At the 2008 World junior Champs in (Bydgoszcz) Poland, I was eleventh in the finals but only cleared 5.00m to finish eleventh. I was nervous competing on the world stage for the first time. This time I am ready and hungry for a medal and huge height,” Rahme revealed. 

Perhaps the biggest surprise at the event came in the men’s Long Jump where Luvo Manyionga leaped to a life time best of 8.05m on his third attempt. This places him among the best in the event in the world this year.

“Although I felt a bit uncomfortable in the chilly evening condition I was determined to make the grade. I wanted to do it for my coach Mario Smith who has been patient even when I let him down,” Manyionga admits.

He went on to finish second in triple jump with a leap of 15.71m, a mere nine centimetres shy of the World Junior Championships qualifier. Coach Smith admits he can now breathe a sign of relief. “Manyionga has so much potential. He just has to focus more on what he does best,” Smith explained.

Other notable performances in the field events from came from Annemie Smith (55.25m) in the junior women’s Hammer Throw.

In the junior men’s 400m, defending champion Jacques de Swart was stretched to his limit by Botswana’s Thapelo Ketlogetwe before he retained his title. De Swart clocked 46.08 to Ketlogetswe’s 46.29. Bronze medallist Shaun de Jager (46.82) also improved his career best from 47.37. “I train under a new coach (Morne Nagel). That has made a big difference,” says De Swart.

South African selectors have a wide pool to select from in the short sprints after several athletes qualified with career best postings. In the junior men’s category Gideon Trotter (10.41), Waide Jooste (10.43), Sean de Klerk (10.47, 21.00) and 200m runner Wade van Niekerk (21.15). Youth double champion Rudolf Erasmus (10.50, 21.15) and Siphelo Ngquboza 21.16 made the grade. Back in competition after a two year absence Bevin Smith (23.93) made the cut in the junior women’s 200m.

Shaun van Wyk (51.94) and Jean-Marie Senekal (59.19) made the grade in the junior men’s and women’s 400m Hurdles. While youth 400m hurdlers Taariq Solomons (51.30) and Schalk Burger (51.47) impressed.

Mark Ouma for the IAAF

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