The Madibaz secured a spot in next year’s lucrative Varsity Athletics series with an impressive performance at the South African Student Athletics Championships that took place in Pretoria over the weekend.

Members of the NMMU team showed their mettle against the top athletes from 29 tertiary institutions to finish seventh overall – one position better than last year.

The top eight teams in the championships qualify for the prestigious and widely televised series, which showcases the country’s top student track and field stars in four meetings across the country each year.

The Port Elizabeth-based institution hosted a meeting for the first time in March.

“We are very proud of our athletes who proved that NMMU is continuing to produce some of the best athletes in South Africa,” said Madibaz athletics manager Nellis Bothma.

“Qualifying for the Varsity Athletics series gives them a great national platform to gain exposure and fast-track them into professional sporting careers.”

Pole vaulter Jeannie van Dyk was NMMU’s brightest star at the champs, winning a gold medal with a career-best jump of 3.8m.

Other local athletes who made their mark included Ischke Senekal whose throw of 54.13m in the discus for women earned her the silver medal and Mariano Eesou who earned bronze in the half-marathon for men in 1:03:53.

Mieke Stander, who achieved a distance of 50.43m in the hammer throw for women, and Zolani Ngqaqa, who finished the 10 000m for men in 31:21:94, also won bronze medals.

The Madibaz received further good news when Eesou was selected for the national team to participate in the seventh Federation of Africa University Sports (Fasu) Games in Nairobi, Kenya, in July.

Van Dyk, Senekal, Stander, Magdaleen Louw (hammer throw), Charnell Welmans (pentathlon) and Ngqaqa (half-marathon) made the cut for the Confederation of Universities and Colleges of Southern Africa (Cucsa) team.
NMMU - Jeanie Van Dyk gold medallistsmall

Madibaz pole vaulter Jeannie van Dyk’s jump of 3.8m earned her the gold medal at the South African Student Athletics Championships which took place in Pretoria this weekend. Photo: Supplied

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