Madibaz sprinter Luxolo Adams, who announced himself to the world when he won the Paris Diamond League 200m last year, will headline the Eastern Province Athletics Championships in Gqeberha tomorrow and Saturday.
On that occasion, Adams disposed of Olympic champion André De Grasse in a career-best 19.82. He went on to qualify for the 200m final at the Worlds in Oregon later in the season.
Adams, one of a large contingent of Madibaz athletes, has entered both short sprints at the provincial champs and is likely to be pushed by teammate Kyle Norman in both.
Meanwhile, Daryll Lottering, who specialises in the one-lapper, is another Madibaz star who has set his sights on qualifying for the South African team for the World University Games in Chengdu, China, in July.
As the last track meeting before the ASA National Championships, which takes place at Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town from March 19 to 21, he felt that this weekend would be crucial as it could set the tone for his showdown against the country’s leading 400m runners.
The 21-year-old BA student from Humansdorp was clear on his objectives at the Madibaz Stadium.
“My aim is to take the gold and go under 47 seconds.”
His personal best stands at 46.11, which he set at the 2021 nationals en route to a silver medal.
“That is the highlight of my career so far and now I know I just need to focus on doing more speed work on the track.”
Club mate TJ Van der Walt will most probably be the dark horse for an upset in the 400m.
In the women’s field, Shirley Nekhubui will line up in both the 200m and 400m items. The Madibaz runner showed her class by winning the Newton Classic Shootout in Johannesburg over 150m for the second straight year in 2022.
First-year student Sakhe Mahote, who has entered both the 1 500m and 5 000m events, will be one to watch in the middle distances.
Madibaz Sport athletics manager Bernard Petersen said the EP champs was arguably the most important local event as anyone who aspired to represent the province was obliged to compete.
“That is significant as it compels all your top athletes to enter.”
He added that the meeting would also help fine-tune the Madibaz stable for important upcoming events. This includes the USSA champs, which is a qualifying event for the World University Games.
“At the other end of the scale, we have a number of new athletes in our club and this is a chance for them to impress and continue the growth of Madibaz Athletics.”