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19 April 2021
UWC athletes shine at National Championships
Of the seven medals won by Western Province Athletics (WPA) over the weekend at the ASA Senior Track and Field National Championships in Tshwane, two were claimed individually by UWC athletes and a third as part of a relay team.

The star of the show, from a UWC viewpoint, was Ashley Smith who claimed his first national title - one of only two gold medallists from WPA.

The 24-year-old Smith (pictured, right) stood on the top step of the podium at TuksAthletics Stadium after winning the 3000m steeplechase in a time of 9:03.91. As it happens, Smith, a third-year BA (English, History, Politics) student, extended his perfect winning record to eight races this year - covering the provincial 3000m steeplechase and 5000m titles as well as other events at 1500m, mile and 3000m distances.

The middle distance speedster recently became the first Western Province athlete since 1997 to run a mile (1.6km) in under four minutes. In doing so, Smith joined an elite group of just 1498 people worldwide to achieve the Dream Mile since British runner Roger Bannister first did it in 1954. 

Meanwhile, Geraldine King took home a bronze medal after two days of heptathlon action. The 23-year-old, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Education (Language and Life Orientation) degree next month, finished top three in all seven events.

On day one, King won the 100m hurdle race, while finishing second in the high jump and 200m and third in the shot put event.

She then claimed third place in all three of day two’s events, namely the long jump, javelin throw and 800m to accumulate a points tally of 4338. Incidentally, King edged another UWC athlete, Ameerah Donough, into fourth place as the 20-year-old Bachelor of Business Administration (Public Administration) student could only tally 4130 points.

Another bronze medal was secured by UWC graduate Kyle Green, but not in his favoured jumping events. Green, 22, was knocked out in the heats of the long jump but then combined brilliantly with Roscoe Engel, Darren Riddles and Keegan van der Merwe in the 4x100m relay to finish third behind Central Gauteng and Gauteng North.