Final-year BEd student Anthony Timotheus ran a blistering 28.46 minutes - seventh overall - to help his WPA teammates to a bronze medal in the senior men’s team competition at Sunday’s event, which also incorporated the Athletics South Africa (ASA) 10km National Championships.
Coached by Glen Bentley, UWC’s Support Service Manager in the Department of Sport Administration, three of the five WPA’s representatives are also connected to the university in addition to Timotheus. Nadeel Wildschutt is doing a postgraduate diploma in management and Thomas Struis is in his third year of study towards his BEd, and both run for UWC Athletics Club. Keaton Lott, who runs for Itheko Athletics Club, obtained his BCom honours in financial accounting on campus in 2019.
Timotheus, who runs for Nedbank Athletics Club, finished seventh overall, and Bentley believes the team’s good showing is a big deal.
“In 2009 I started coaching these boys when they were 13-, 14- and 15-year olds. One of the goals that I set with them was that altitude shouldn’t be a factor and we needed to start competing against athletes from up country.
“Now winning the bronze medal at national champs means a lot for us in that we are building depth so that more athletes are able to compete at this level. And when we have depth we are able to build the individuals. That is a process that will happen automatically. We now have individuals who are running 10km for 28 minutes. We have others who are following, running 29 minutes with some 30 minutes. We also have individuals who are doing well in the cross country and in track and field. This means that in a year or two these ones start challenging for medals at national competitions. And that is as a result of us doing well in team competitions. When individuals do well at national competitions, others are able to emulate and will improve the performance of the current group”.
Bentley credited the WPA selection process for his team's success.
“It’s important for the respective commissions to work together when selecting athletes across disciplines. The fact that the boys managed to win the team bronze medal, coupled with Anthony Timotheus’s 7th overall, certainly improved the confidence of the entire team”.
With the men’s team performing well, Bentley has called on more support for women athletes: “WPA should focus on developing more coaches, in particular female coaches. A stronger focus on females must be encouraged and possibly incentivised.”
Main image: Glen Bentley poses with Thomas Struis, Nadeel Wildschutt and Anthony Timotheus. Images courtesy Glen Bentley.