The ASA national youth and junior team returned home to thunderous applause on Thursday after dominating the CAA U18 and U20 African Athletics Championships in Ndola, Zambia where they finished top of the medals table.
Competing against 33 other countries, the squad shone by raking in 66 medals, and they were welcomed home at OR Tambo International by family, friends, supporters and athletics officials.
Temoso Masikane, who landed at 8.06m* to break his own national record and claim gold in the U18 boys long jump, was delighted to have performed so well in his first appearance in SA colours.
"My goal was to go over eight metres, so it was something that I was expecting and I felt I executed well while I was jumping, and it happened," Masikane said.
"It was my first time representing my country, so to get a medal feels great."
All three of the nation's double gold medallists in individual events - Ashley Erasmus, Alicia Khunou and Tumi Ramokgopa - were equally delighted with their results.
Erasmus, who won the national senior shot put title in March, showcased her immense talent by winning gold in the U20 women's shot put and discus throw in Zambia.
"Standing on the podium and hearing the national anthem felt amazing. It almost brought tears to my eyes," Erasmus said.
"I didn't throw the distances I wanted to because I thought training was going well, but I'm very thankful to have won gold."
Alicia Khunou, who also flaunted her versatility by winning the U18 girls shot put and discus throw finals, hoped her results would motivate other South Africans to achieve their goals.
"I just wanted to go out there and give it my best, so coming back with a result I can be proud of is great," Khunou said.
"I hope people out there can find some inspiration from what I did and see that anything is possible, regardless of who you are or where you come from."
On the track, 15-year-old prodigy Tumi Ramokgopa won 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles gold in the U18 category, stunning her older opponents to return home with two titles.
"It was a blessing and it feels amazing. I actually didn't expect to win both events but I told myself I was going to fight in every race for my country," Ramokgopa said.
Multiple other athletes also secured multiple podium places in individual and relay events, with the SA team bagging 33 gold, 19 silver and 14 bronze medals at the five-day championships which came to a close on Wednesday.
It was the second successive edition of the CAA African U18 and U20 Championships which saw the SA team taking overall victory by earning more medals than any other nation.
* All SA records are subject to standard ratification processes