Photos Capture Spirit & Pride of a Nation as SA Crowned World U18 Champs

It was a golden end to the IAFF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday as South Africa’s youth topped the table… and walked away the proud winners of the international competition.

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Breyton Poole of South Africa in the mens high jump during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. He went on to win the competition with a jump of 2.24m to become world champion. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

SA scooped three more medals on the fourth day to take their winning tally to 11 medals – 5 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze.

Renowned South African sports photographer Roger Sedres from Image SA (and former Chief Photographer at Die Burger) shot the photos on this page that capture more than just a sports event – they capture the spirit and pride of a nation; they capture the love and hope of South Africans everywhere.

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Zeney van der Walt and Zazini Sokwakhana of South Africa after they both won their 400m hurdles finals during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

On Sunday it was the sprint duo of Retshidisitswe Mlenga and Tshenolo Lemao who came to the party as they swopped podium positions in the 200m. Earlier in the week it was Lemao who won gold and Mlenga silver in the 100m. Sunday saw the roles reversed as Mlenga won in 21.02 and Lemao was hard on his heels, 0.09sec later.

Mlenga said. ‘I followed my coach’s instructions and I’m very happy to have won a gold medal.’

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 16: Tshenolo Lemao and Retshidisitswe Mlenga of South Africa with Luis Brandner of Germany with their medals in the boys 200m during day 5 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 16, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

The day before, it was diminutive high jumper Breyton Poole (17 years old and 1.72m tall) who had the crowds on their feet as he soared clear at 2.24 metres to earn a comfortable victory and become U18 World High Jump champion…

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Breyton Poole of South Africa in the mens high jump during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. He went on to win the competition with a jump of 2.24m to become world champion. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Breyton Poole of South Africa in the mens high jump during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. He went on to win the competition with a jump of 2.24m to become world champion. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

Breyton won the title in front of his proud family… Roger captioned the photos: “The joy of seeing their son a world champion!!”

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Charmaine Poole, mother of Breyton Poole, display her excitement that her son is a world champion with Teboho Lemao, father of Tshenolo Lemao, during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Hagan Poole (bother), Bennie Schlechter (coach) and Heman Poole (father) of Breyton Poole during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

‘Previous coaches discouraged me because of my height and I decided to work harder. Today I proved them all wrong,’ he said.

In the evening session at Moi International Sports Centre, Sokwakhana Zazini and Zeney van der Walt raced to a golden double in the boys and girls 400m hurdles finals.

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Zeney van der Walt of South Africa sing the national anthem during the medal ceremony for the women’s 400m hurdles during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana said on Sunday: ‘What we have achieved is beyond expression. We are very excited with what our youth team has achieved. It’s not every day you top the world.

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: Zeney van der Walt and Zazini Sokwakhana of South Africa hold up the national flag they both won their 400m hurdles finals during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

‘SA coaches are climbing the ladder and proving to the world nothing is impossible. Well done to all athletes and the rest of the support team who work behind the scenes.’

The championships proved that South Africa has an enormous depth of talent. Now it’s up to all concerned to keep that talent active and involved as they move up to the next level.

NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 15: members of Team South Africa sing the national anthem during day 4 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA – JULY 16: Mrs Margaret Kenyatta, patron of the championship, with the South African team of Sokwakhana Zazini, Zeney van der walt, Gontse Morale and Retshidisitswe Mlenga during day 5 of the IAAF World U18 Championship held at Kasarani Stadium on July 16, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images)

When the SA youngsters return to OR Tambo International the metal detectors are sure to be busy – in the baggage will be five gold, three silver and three bronze.

The flight arrives on SA347 at 17h20 Monday afternoon (today). Breyton and the team deserve a hero’s welcome!

Pictures courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA – seen below with 17-year-old athletic hero, Breyton Poole. THANK YOU Roger for capturing such beautiful photos…

Partly sourced: SASCOC.co.za

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