Stars clinch two titles each at SA champs

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The international cross-country athlete, Ngconde Matwebu (Riebeeckstad High School), found himself on the top of the podium twice at the SA High Schools athletics championships which was staged in Paarl the past weekend. He won the 1500 m and 5000 m for boys in the 19-years age group. PHOTO: QUINTEN BESTER

The middle- and long-distance star from Riebeeckstad High School, Ngconde Matwebu, and the field events ace from Grey College in Bloemfontein, Aron Alvarez Aranda, were the only two athletes from the Free State province who could score the distinction of each pocketing two gold medals at the SA high schools athletics championships which was staged in Paarl the past weekend.
Matwebu, current national junior cross country champion, won the 1500 m and 5000 m for boys in the 19 years age group, outclassing his enemies with clever tactics. In the 1500 m, he just did enough to step onto the highest spot of the podium with a brisk time of 3:49,26. He was, however, always aware of the threatening Koos Molutsi (KZN, 3:50,25), who finished second by less than a second. Third placed Lucas Silwane (Gauteng) was not far off the pace either, clocking a decent 3:51,61.
In the 5000 m, the gutsy Matwebu took no prisoners and won in style in a quick time of 14:20,79, leaving second placed Nicholas Seoposengwe (Gauteng, 14:47,38) grasping for air from approximately 160 metres from behind. Cwenga Nose (Eastern Cape, 14:49.12) had to settle for bronze.
Aranda’s golden double came in the rarely seen hammer and discus throw combination in the boys 15-years age group.
He reigned supreme in the hammer throw, landing the iron ball at a respective 49,79 m to beat the silver medallist, Heremias Nieuwoudt (Western Cape, 48.78 m) by over a metre. Hanno Nel (Gauteng) hung onto third place with a heave of 48,20 m.
Aranda took honours in the discus throw evenly convincingly. He recorded a winning distance of 61,30 m and once again won by more than a metre. He forced Tian Scholtz (Gauteng, 60,04) into the silver medal place, whilst the bronze medallist, Cian de Villiers (Gauteng) had to be content with a throw of 58.59 m.
Athletes from the Free State won gold medals in seven more events. They are:
Boys 19 years pole vault: Sarel Mouton (4.40 m), Shot Put: Johannes Kruger (17.46 m).
Boys 17 years discus throw: Wynand Swanepoel (60.63 m), 2000 m Steeple Chase: Rethabile Mokhothu (06:06.72).
Girls 19 years 4 x 100-m relay: Free State team.
Girls 17 years hammer throw: Phethisang Makhethe (59.91m).
Girls 15 years triple jump: Johani van Tonder (11.42 m). – RUFUS BOTHA