The Tuks athletes won a total of seven individual medals at the African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.
A definite highlight was the performance of the men’s 4x100m relay team. Simon Magakwe, Henricho Bruintjies, Emile Erasmus and Akani Simbine not only won but set a new South African record running 38.25s. Their winning time is 0.09s faster than the previous record.
The national 4x100m relay team seems to be making a habit of winning medals at major events. The Tuks athletes, Simbine and Erasmus, were also part of the relay team that won a silver medal during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
From a Tuks/HPC perspective, the performance of Cornel Fredericks deserves a special mention. Fredericks was second in the 400m-hurdles. His performance proves that perseverance and dedication do pay off. It is the first time in four years that he had won a medal at a major international event.
In 2014 Fredericks seemingly could do no wrong. He "glided" to victory at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and won the African title in Marrakech. To top it all, he was the first to finish in the IAAF Nations Cup 400m-hurdles race also in Marrakech and finished third in the Diamond League 400m-hurdles standings. Another highlight was ending the season as the third fastest athlete having run 48.25s.
The consensus at the time was that Fredericks was going to be the next real deal as far as 400m-hurdling was concerned. But sport can be cruel.
This phrase indeed came to haunt him. Since his golden year in 2014 "Lady Luck" seemed to have decided to single Fredericks personally out as the one on whom she wanted to vent her frustrations.
He was hampered by various injuries his biggest frustration was an Achilles heel injury. Adding to this is that Fredericks had awful luck concerning coaches. In the last nine years, he has been coached by five different coaches.
In spite of this, he never lost belief in his own abilities. Reiterating time and again that he knows he is good enough to race against the best if his injury free. He also let it know that he had unfinished business on the track. Hopefully winning a silver medal in Asaba is going to be the turning point in his athletics career.
Fredriech Pretorius (decathlon), Rikenette Steenkamp (100m-hurdles), Chris Moleya (high jump) are the other Tuks-athletes who won silver medals.
Wenda Nel (400m-hurdles) was third in the 400m-hurdles.