THERE’S been a definite resurgence in South African track and field athletics over the last few years. Sprint sensation, Wayde van Niekerk, has led a new wave of South African stars who are setting the tracks and fields of Mzansi and the world alight.
Athletes like Caster Semenya, Akani Simbine, Luvo Manyonga, Sunette Viljoen, Ruswahl Samaai, Breyton Poole and Khotso Mokoena to name a few, are all making waves on the international scene and have become household names. Print, television and social media have also made the sport and these and other athletes more visible and put them top of mind of the general public and has also encouraged sponsors and corporates to sit up straight and take note of the revival.
Big brands like Audi and Adidas are falling over their feet to get these athletes to endorse their products and parents are flocking to their local tracks again to take their seats in pavilions nationwide. As a youngster I loved all kinds of sport and grew up watching the likes of Tshakile Nzimande, Johan Rossouw, Johan Landsman, Tom Petranoff, Evette de Klerk, Xolile Yawa and Elana Meyer competing at stadiums like Coetzenburg, Pilditch and Green Point. South African Athletics were exciting and seemingly very strong, although we only really started competing at international level at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
My Facebook timeline has recently been bombarded by proud parents posting videos and pictures of their children running, jumping and throwing at local athletics meetings and it’s great to witness the action from a distance. A new wave of Wayde’s and Sunette’s are coming through and despite the lack of water and lushness of fields, the resurrection is seemingly running at full throttle.
International superstar, Usain Bolt, visited our shores just a few weeks ago to do some work for sponsors, among other things. Visits like these will further enhance the continual growth of track and field and invite new players into every department of the sport.
It is with this in mind that Cape Town based company, Ignite Talent Lab, is hosting another edition in its Business of Sport Breakfast Series at the Sport Science Institute on 9 March. International stars like former US Olympian, Mechelle Lewis-Freeman, will be speaking at the event. The sprint sensation has always had the desire to contribute to the development of young athletes. Now, through a partnership between the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Africa Children’s Hope Foundation, Freeman, founder of TrackGirlz®, is bringing her coaching program to South Africa with athletics camps scheduled for Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 10th of March.
Freeman, along with Olympic and World Champion, Natasha Hastings, known as the “400m diva”, as well as South African Commonwealth Games medalists Geraldine Pillay, Paul Gorries and middle-distance Olympic medalist, Hezekiel Sepeng, will be speaking at the upcoming Business of Sport Breakfast, which is entitled, GOING for GOLD: The X-Factor, Beyond Power and Performance.
This is a great opportunity for aspiring athletes, coaches, administrators, agents, managers and anyone interested in athletics to rub shoulders with greats and feed off their recipes for success to run faster, jump higher and throw further. Tickets are R295 a single or R250 for a group of four and are selling out fast. Book at www.quicket.co.za or email email@example.com
Be sure not to miss out on this opportunity to learn from local and international masters of their crafts and play your part in the continual resurrection of South African athletics.