Cape Town – After missing out on the South African championships earlier in the season, Kyle Blignaut proved that he means business in 2023 when he produced a 20-metre effort to win the shot put competition at the Athletics SA Grand Prix on Wednesday night.
Blignaut, who finished sixth in the Tokyo Olympic final in 2021, has focused his preparations on the world championships in Budapest in August, stating on Instagram a few weeks ago: “Looking forward to hitting some big throws and PBs this season! Putting in a lot of hours to get where I want to be, and make sure that no stone is left unturned! #shotput #throwing #roadtobudapest
Well, the 23-year-old giant took a step forward on that journey on Wednesday night in Potchefstroom when he came up with a season’s best throw of 20.03m to claim the honours ahead of Cian de Villiers, who finished second with 17.28m.
“I wanted to have a crack tonight and get some experience back, because I haven’t competed much this year and I just wanted to get back into the thick of things,” Blignaut said in an ASA press release afterwards, having also had to contend with a block in the shot put circle breaking, which delayed the start of the event for 40 minutes.
“I felt great tonight and I got over 20 metres, which is not bad at the moment.”
He confirmed on his Instagram stories that his next event is the Botswana Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone on Saturday.
Other notable performances among the men’s field events saw Valco van Wyk winning the pole vault with 5.45m, Victor Hogan claimed the discus victory with 62.95m, while Waldouw Smit triumphed in javelin with a 79.55m throw.
In the two main sprint races, Kenya’s Samwel Imeta won the 100m in 10.12, while South Africa’s Sinesipho Dambile clinched the 200m in 20.47.
On the women’s front, 100m hurdles star Marioné Fourie just missed out on a sub-13 second time as she held off the challenge of multi-event athlete Taylon Bieldt.
The 20-year-old Fourie, whose personal best stands at 12.93, ran an impressive race on Wednesday to win in 13.01, with Bieldt second in 13.10.
“I had some technical issues and I didn’t run the race I wanted, but it’s okay. Taylon did push me, and that helped a lot. I like having that competition from her,” Fourie said.
Bieldt also finished second in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.90 seconds.
Tamzin Thomas did the double in the two sprint events, clocking 11.49 in the 100m and 23.58 in the 200m.