Trotter surprises friend and foe at Free State Champs

Gideon Trotter reigned supreme at the Free State athletics championships. PHOTO: ACTION PHOTOS

The African championships’ junior gold medallist in the 100m in Gaborone, way back in 2011, Gideon Trotter (Kovsies), rocked the boat in the 100m for senior men at the Free State athletics championships which were staged at the Mangaung stadium in Bloemfontein the weekend.

Trotter never truly produced the performances one expected from this talented sprinter since then and one could argue that his career was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. At the SA senior championships last year, Trotter could not manage to reach the final when he had to settle for fifth place in the semi-final in a sluggish 10,63.

A week before his scintillating 100 m on Saturday, he could only finish fourth at the Motheo and Xhariep championships in an even worse 11,09. If you compare this with his time (10,58) at the Gaborone event eight years ago, one would have been excused if you reckoned Trotter had had his best days as a schoolboy and junior sprinter.

Came Saturday however, Trotter was pure dynamite out of his blocks and clocked an excellent lifetime best time of 10,22 seconds

The pre-race favourite, Tsebo Matsoso (Kovsies), must have thought lightning had struck with Trotter leaving him behind in a flash, and make no mistake, Matsoso clocked a very good 10,35, which was only a metre off Trotter’s gold medal time. Fellow Kovsie and training partner of Trotter and Matsoso, Oratile Setlhabi, crossed the line in a quick 10,52 for bronze.

All three mentioned medallists are coached by world record holder (400 m), Wayde van Niekerk’s coach, Tannie Ans Botha. By the way, Van Niekerk took to the track on Saturday in the 400 m for the first time in more than a year after he had been sidelined by an injury. Visit for a report of Van Niekerk’s race.

Back to Trotter, who turns 27 on Sunday and who seems to be back with a vengeance. The manner in which he reigned supreme on Saturday spells danger for his main rivals in the country in the 100 m, and who knows, maybe in the 200 m as well, because he obviously has not lost his appetite for gold.

The Free State junior (U20) and youth (U18) championships were held with the mentioned senior championships and the following athletes bettered the Free State records in their respective events:

Youth girls shot put: Miné de Klerk (Goudveld High School, 16,54 m). Junior women discus throw: Colette Uys (Kovsies, 45,66 m). Youth boys 100 m: Keenan Cloete (Jim Fouché, 10,69). Youth boys discus: Wynand Swanepoel (Going 4 Gold, 59,04 m). Junior men 5000 m: Ngconde Matwebu (Riebeeckstad High School, 14:46.53). Junior men discus throw: Hannes Kruger (Going 4 Gold, 46.80 m). – RUFUS BOTHA