Nineteen-year-old Tharina van der Walt, who is one of three first-year students in the UFS team of 25 athletes, bagged the only gold medal for the Free State students. Van der Walt, is a student at the University of the Free State (UFS) and won the hammer throw with a distance of 53,12 m.
Kovsies finished in the top five at Varsity Athletics that was held at the first Varsity Athletics meeting in Stellenbosch on Friday, 1 March 2018. Six athletes achieved second places. Both Sokwakana Mogwasi (100 m) and Ts’epang Sello (800 m) came within a whisker of claiming victory. Mogwasi lost the 100 m by 00:04 seconds, but in the process improved her personal best from 11,89 to 11,58. Sello (2:08,47) was in the lead for most of the 800 m but was eventually defeated by Niene Muller of Tuks by less than half a second.
Mogwasi was also second in the 200 m with a fast 24,92. Other silver medals were obtained by Yolandi Stander in the discus (52,70 m), Peter Makgato in the long jump (7,66 m), and Marné Mentz in a very fast 1500 m race. Mentz (04:26,63) chopped more than five seconds off her previous best time of 4:32,00. Her time was the third fastest ever in the 1 500 m at Varsity Athletics.
There were three third places: Sefako Mokhosoa (15,47 – triple jump), Petrus Jacobs (14,55 – 110 m hurdles), and the women’s 4×100 m relay team (Mogwasi, Elsabé du Plessis, Joviale Mbisha, and Micháela Wright).
Four athletes just missed out on podium positions, achieving fourth places.
The second Varsity Athletics Meeting will take place in Potchefstroom on 15 March 2019. – Pierce van Heerden