Local athlete laces up for Colombia

Mthi Mthimkulu (left) in action on the track.

Mthi Mthimkulu (left) in action on the track.
Verskaf
A star athlete is among just a few from Bloemfontein who are on their way to Colombia for the junior world champion­ships scheduled to take place from 1 to 6 August.

Mthi Mthimkulu (19), who is currently training under coach Hennie Aucamp of Falco Elite Running, is exited about his first international championship.

He has been the Free State champion in the 400 m since he was U16until U19.

Mthimkulu started out his athletics career in the Goldfields and attended the Riebeeckstad High School on a sholarship from Gr. 10 to Gr. 12. His coaches then were Quentin Bester and Daleen Janke.

At the end of 2020 Mthimkulu moved to Bloemfontein to continue his sporting career, and he hopes to study at the University of the Free State (UFS) next year.

He competes in the 400 m, as well as the 200 m.

“My biggest goal is to represent South Africa on senior level,” he says about his last year as junior athlete.

Aucamp says Mthimkulu works really hard.

“He is very talented and consistent, and I see a great future for this athlete.”

On 11 July, the final list of the team headed for Colombia was announced. Mthimkulu was chosen for the 400 m relay team. He is excited, and says the fact that he is competing as part of a team takes a little bit of the pressure off.

“But I am going to do my absolute best. I want to improve in every race that I start.”

Mthimkulu’s best times are 47.48 in the 400 m, achieved at the Free State Championships in February, 20.94 in the 200 m at a league meeting and 10.68 in the 100 m at the Free State Championships.

At the national relay championships in April, his team received a silver medal in the 4 x 400 m mixed relay and a bronze in the 4 x 200 m junior men’s relay.

Other Bloemfontein athletes who are also included in the South African team are Natasha Gertenbach (Fichardtpark High School) and Aron Alvarez Aranda (Grey College), as well as Tjaart van der Walt (4 x 400 m) and Joané Gerber (long jump) of Kovsies. Miné de Klerk (shot put and discus) is also of Kovsies, but now studies in America.

Aucamp says Mthimkulu’s inclusion in the South African team consisting of 47 athletes is a great start to the career they have been working hard for.