The South Africa junior men’s 4x100m relay team closed out a superb campaign at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships last weekend by breaking the world junior record in Nairobi, Kenya.
The SA quartet of Mihlali Xhotyeni, Sinesipho Dambile, Letlhogonolo Moleyane and Benjamin Richardson, secured victory in the final in 38.51 seconds, shattering the previous global U20 mark of 38.62s set by the US at the Pan-American Championships in Costa Rica in July 2019.
They also obliterated the African record of 39.33s which South Africa had equalled in the heats at this year’s U20 Championships. Jamaica took second place in the final (38.61s), while Poland won bronze in 38.90s.
“Individually we are all fast and together we got a world record,” said Richardson, who earned the 100m silver medal earlier in the Championships. “It shows South Africa is improving in the relays and the individual events, which is great.”
South Africa took sixth position at the medals table with a total of nine medals (three golds, two silver and four bronze). Host nation Kenya, finished at the top of the standings with 16 medals made of eight golds, one silver and seven bronze.
“We are over the moon with the whole performance of the team,” said James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa. “Coming from the background of a tough and disrupted preparation programmes and competitions, we are beyond words to describe this achievement.
“The sheer determination of this team is reflected in the number of athletes that reached semifinals and the final. This has been a team effort, where those who didn’t go through the next stage in their events, continued to support their teammates throughout the competition. That is patriotism in the true spirit of sportsmanship.”
Kenya’s medal tally of eight gold, one silver and seven bronze was the country’s best ever performance in 11 years at the world junior event. – Agencies