Top NMMU-Madibaz field athlete Ischke Senekal is hoping for a strong performance at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) athletics championships in Polokwane from April 29 to 30.
The last major competition of the season, the meeting is an opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this year.
Madibaz athletics manager Nellis Bothma said Senekal was one of the university’s top candidates for medals.
“She will definitely try to qualify for the Olympic team and achieve gold medals in the discus and shot put disciplines.”
The 23-year-old former Brandwag pupil has regularly featured among the top field athletes in South African athletics and won discus gold medals at the African junior championships in 2011 and at the Zone VI U20 Youth Games in Zambia in 2012.
Bothma said several other NMMU athletes were also looking to make an impact.
“Our other female stars are Bianca Blom in the hammer throw, Cherise Sims in the 3 000m steeplechase and Cayla Seddon, who will again try to qualify for world juniors in the 100m hurdles.”
Among the men, Mariano Eesou and Lwazi Mkhaliphi would be chasing medals in the 5 000m and 10 000m, said Bothma, while Garth Ellis wanted to improve his personal best of 2.15m in the high jump.
“In the long jump Divan Manuel would like to clear the 7.50m mark, and we are also banking on our sprinters to perform.”
The athletes had undergone six months of preparations for the USSA champs and, despite several injury scares, were ready for the challenge, said Bothma.
“They have competed in the provincial and national championships as well as the Varsity Athletics series and are fully prepared.
“As this is the last big meeting of their season, it will hopefully culminate in top performances for each individual and show the hard work and dedication put in by both the athlete and coach.”