After sensational opening Day 1 of ASA U16 (Sub-Youth), U18 (Youth) and U20 (Junior) T&F National Championships at NWU Mc Arthur Athletics Stadium, Potchefstroom on Thursday 31 March 2022, the following is what athletes said.
Viwe Jingqi - U18 Girls 100m champion (11.22)
They say I am not a human, but a machine, and I think it is true. I broke three records wearing new spikes, and I knew I could run faster times. I am consistent and know what I want to do on the track. I kept my concentration throughout the day and never lost focus and was rewarded with the national title in the 100m. My parents are supportive and watched on YouTube. I dedicated the record to my late brother Vukile, who died last year in January. I will race at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix in Germiston with the seniors, and I want to give them a run for their money. I have a positive mindset and love the sport. I am super excited. I am going for the national title in the senior champs in Cape Town.
Naheem Jack: U16 Boys 100m hurdles SA record holder (12.64)
I cannot believe I broke the SA record in the heat in my first race. I was not expecting to run the time, and I thought it would be a usual win. I told myself to go out there and do my best. I must win the final and leave the championships with a national title and a record.
Benjamin Richardson: 100m U20 Men champion (10.19).
Firstly, I am not happy with my time and do not think of it as a win. I am disappointed in myself, despite winning. I did not perform to the best of my ability and did not win properly. I wanted to run a sub-10. I did not execute the race perfectly. I started fast, but I slipped and won. I have qualified for the World junior championships in Cali, Colombia later this year and now I can focus on what I need to do to get a sub-10. I hope to do better in the 200m.
Bradley Nkoana: Boys 100m U18 champion (10.25).
The race was fun, and I enjoyed it. I must put more work in so I can go for the record one day. It is my second national 100m title and I am proud of myself for coming back stronger after injury. My dad came from Mabopane (in Tshwane) to watch me, and it made me emotional. There is more coming, and I will be ready for it. Running in front of an electric crowd made me happy.
Kayla La Grange: Women’s 100m U20 champion (11.86)
I worked hard for this title and worked on my start in the last week. I am proud of my achievements. It is a great way to end my high school career and I dedicate it to my family.
Cole Moultrie: Boys 100m U16 champion (10.91)
I am blessed and knew it was my time to win in a crazy competition. I am excited and cannot wait to get home and show the winner’s medal to my family. It’s a crazy win.
Alexandra Okoye: Girls 100m U16 champion (12:23)
I feel happy and worked hard for it and did better than I expected. I am happy with my time and thank my coaches and everyone who assisted me to win this gold medal.
Cliethe Anisha Julies: Girls U18 Hammers throw champion (63.24m)
I feel good and cannot believe I am taking the gold back home to the Free State and I feel overwhelmed with joy. I feel comfortable with the event and do it for the love of it. I feel happy when I am doing it.
Rivers Williams: 10km race walk Men’s U20 champion (47:13:87)
It was a competitive race, and I did not expect to get the gold medal. The race went pretty well, and if it wasn't too hot, I would have got a faster time. I was a second behind my PB of 47:12 and wanted to do it under 46 minutes. I was injured in January and am happy with this comeback. I did not get the qualifying time of 43 minutes, but I won’t lose hope. I will cherish this gold medal forever.
Tian Stoltz: Boys U18 Shot put champion (20:00m)
I feel great and came to win the gold medal and my hard work paid off. The level of competition is of the highest quality, and I love shot put and have been doing it from an early age. I want to improve each time I throw. I want to represent my country at the Olympics one day.
Anais van Wyk: Women’s U20 pole vault (3.40m)
I am super excited and feel that I can take my performance to the next level at the national championships in Cape Town. I feel confident and on top of the world. I worked hard for this win and remained focused until I won gold.