2023 Apr 28



Athletics Media

Athletics South Africa Office
Athletics Media
2023 Apr 28

South Africa's most talented and hard-working young athletes will be looking to display their ability against their counterparts at the CAA African U18 and U20 Championships starting in Ndola, Zambia on Saturday.


With a full-strength young squad lining up, the SA team will be confident of putting up a fight against Africa's powerhouse track and field nations at the five-day youth and junior spectacle.


A 41-member U18 squad unveiled by Athletics South Africa earlier this month includes 23 boys and 18 girls, along with a 45-member U20 squad which includes 22 men and 23 women.


Among the most promising athletes in the team is 15 year-old Leendert Koekemoer, one of the youngest athletes in the entry lists at the continental championships, who will be looking to turn some heads.


Koekemoer is already being compared as the younger version to 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk and he will be looking to prove his potential.


"I can't wait to represent my country in Zambia. I think this will be my last major event of the season so I'm really looking forward to it," Koekemoer said.


"In the long run I hope to get a World Championships or Olympic medal or even break the world record, but at the moment I'm just hoping to represent South Africa as well as I can."


The men's U20 team features the likes of World U20 Championships silver medallist Brian Raats, who will turn out in the high jump and long jump prospect Asande Mthembu, who has already landed at 8.08m this season.


Among the women, Ashley Erasmus will be eager to showcase her form at international level after winning double gold in the shot put and discus throw at the ASA U20 Championships in Pietermaritzburg last month. She went on to take the ASA senior shot put title in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.


Another athlete to watch out for is Precious Molepo, who reached the 400m final at the last two editions of the World U20 Championships.


In the U18 age group, the boys' team includes Naeem Jack, who recently set a South African youth best (record) of 13.25 seconds in the 110m hurdles at the ASA U18 Championships and Temoso Masikane, who broke the national U18 long jump best with a leap of 7.93m at the same event.


The girls' team includes the likes of youth prodigy Timeke-Jade Coetzee, who won double gold in the long jump and triple jump at the ASA U18 Championships and Alicia Khunou, who also earned double gold in the shot put and discus throw at the national youth championships.


“We have put together what we believe is a solid team of fine athletes who are eager to prove their worth," explained the President of Athletics South Africa, James Moloi. "We are expecting to put up a high performance to emulate or even outdo their senior colleagues who contested the African crown in Mauritius. Their mandate is simply to bring the African title back home."