The athletics meeting held at UJ Stadium marked the first USSA championships since the outbreak of COVID-19 and, duly, student-athletes up-and-down the country were eager to show off their best.
All told, UWC claimed 10 medals comprising one gold, six silver and three bronze to finish seventh on the standings. NWU topped the medals table, with 34 medals (13 gold), ahead of hosts UJ and varsity powerhouses Tuks - who both claimed 24, but UJ secured one more gold with 10.
UWC got the championships off by securing four medals on Day 1 (one gold, two silver and one bronze), good enough to see them sitting in third at the time - behind pacesetters NWU and UJ.
Fresh off securing his first national title, middle distance star Ashley Smith claimed gold in the 3000m steeplechase finishing in 9:16.20. Merlin Klaaste followed a short distance behind him to secure a silver medal.
UWC also double-medalled in the 10 000m race, with Nadeel Wildschutt finishing second and Anthony Timoteus third (pictured). TUT’s Milton Kekana proved just too elusive for our men.
Day 2 saw UWC bagging two more medals, however Tuks, Maties and TUT made big moves to squeeze the Blue and Gold squad down to sixth on the standings.
Bevan Sasman secured the first of the day, finishing second to UJ’s Divan Manuel (8.04m) in the long jump with a best effort of 7.27m. Then, in the final event of the day, the men’s 4x100m relay team claimed another silver medal, their 41.20 in the second final, only being pipped by the Tuks quartet’s 40.20 in the first final.
On the final day of the meeting, the UWC squad nabbed a further four medals courtesy of Ashley Smith’s bronze in the half-marathon (following a 1:11.27 run), Anthony Timoteus’ silver in the 5000m (his 14:28.04 beaten by UJ's Maxime Chaumeton breaking 14 minutes) and silver and bronze respectively to heptathletes Geraldine King and Gabrielle Lazarus. King led the way in the 200m, 100m hurdles and long jump events to accumulate 4612 points but University of Pretoria's Shannon Verster proved more consistent across the two days' seven events to rack up 4986 points to claim gold.
UWC'S USSA ATHLETICS 2021 MEDALLISTS
Ashley Smith (3000m steeplechase)
Merlin Klaaste (3000m steeplechase)
Nadeel Wildshutt (10 000m)
Bevan Sasman (long jump)
Men’s 4x100 Relay Team
Anthony Timoteus (5000m)
Geraldine King (heptathlon)
Anthony Timoteus (10 000m)
Ashley Smith (half-marathon)
Gabrielle Lazarus (heptathlon)
Photos by Skhu Nkomphela - UWC Sport.