#TuksAthletics: Hurdling is what gets Chane Kok's adrenaline pumping

Posted on April 06, 2023

Judging by the results, hurdling seems part and parcel of Chane Kok's DNA.

The BCom Business Management student at Tuks won gold with a time of 13.81 in the women’s U-20 100m hurdles at the recent 2023 ASA Youth and Junior Track & Field Championships in Pietermaritzburg. A week later, she won a silver medal at the National Senior Champs in Potchefstroom.

It is safe to predict that it is not the last medal she will win this season.

Hurdling seems to be a family thing. Kok's aunt, Vanessa Becker (Eksteen), was also quite a fast hurdler in her competitive days. A highlight was finishing fifth in the 400m hurdles at the 1998 World Junior Athletics Championships in Paris. She is also a former SA under-23 champion.

Kok credits her mom as the one who inspired her to take up hurdling. 

"It might sound strange when I say my mom is my role model, but she is genuinely a fantastic woman. If I can one day be half the woman she is, I will be happy. My mom used to be a keen hurdler when she was at school. She set a best time of 14.10s in the 100m-hurdles. My challenge was to see if I could be faster. At long last, I got to be faster than my mom when I clocked 13.81s at the National Junior Champs."

What is impressive about Kok's performance is the fact that she took an eight-month break from athletics last year. It was not because she was injured. 

"It has always been a dream of mine to play for Hoërskool Garsfontein's first netball team when I was in matric. I am grateful that my coaches allowed me to do so."Kok did not only make up the numbers on the court. Her heroics playing goal defence did not go unnoticed. She got selected to play provincially. Still, Kok never had any doubt as to what she will be doing this year. Hurdling is what gets her adrenaline pumping. 

What excites her is that she will get to compete at the 2023 African Junior Championships in Zambia.

"Since I started running, I dreamt of the day I would get an opportunity to don the coveted 'green and gold' and represent South Africa internationally. It is a first for me. What would make it truly special is if I could medal in the 100m-hurdles."

Based on the results, Kok has a realistic chance of winning a medal. Her time of 13.81s is the fastest for a junior athlete in Africa. Last year 19-year-old Stella Ayanleke (Nigeria) clocked 13.58s. 

According to Kok, the secret to being fast in the 100m-hurdles is simple.

"My coaches, Adri de Jongh and Irma Reyneke keep telling me it is a case of going into autopilot and running as fast as I can. I try and take their advice to heart."

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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