CAPE TOWN – “Some mornings I would just take it out of my bag, and look at it and smile!”
That was the response from South Africa’s newest sports sensation, Luke Davids, to IOL Sport when asked if he has come to terms with the fact that he is the Youth Olympic champion in the 100 metres.
Davids took the gold medal in a superb effort of 10.15 seconds on Monday in Buenos Aires – although a strong wind of 3.4 metres per second means the time is not official – thereby becoming the first ever SA male champion in the Youth Olympic Games.
His phone has been buzzing non-stop since, and he says he is still coming to terms with his achievement.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet – I don’t know how to feel actually! Overwhelmed… like some mornings I would just take it out of my bag and look at it, and smile! Not sure how to react… I have to get used to it,” Davids told IOL Sport from Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
“It became stressful because it was too much, and I just actually put my phone down.”
The 10.15 mark actually equalled the Under-18 world best set by American Anthony Schwartz last year, and even though it won’t be recognised, Davids is delighted by the fact that he has it in his legs – “whether the wind is legal or not, I still ran it”.
It was a nervous beginning in the final for everyone in the field due to a false start by an athlete in Lane 8, but Davids was determined not to be distracted.
And once he crossed the line, he didn’t know how to react. “That actually messed with some of the athletes mentally, but I tried to keep my composure and tell myself, ‘Don’t let this get to you boy, you’ve got this’,” Davids said.
“It was really tough, as it almost got to me. And then I told myself ‘No, it’s not going to get to me. This is yours boy. Go for it’.
“I didn’t know how to feel (when winning gold). I started beating my chest as I told myself, ‘Finally you did it boy!’ – because last year didn’t go so well at the Commonwealth Youth Games (in the Bahamas, where he placed eighth in the final).
Africa's next sports heroes are making their marks and we are so excited for them!
Here are Luke Davids and Alaba Akintola winning gold and silver at #BuenosAires2018
More wins to these #YoungGuns. #RisingStars #AMPZTV #YouthOlympics #AfricasNextHeroes pic.twitter.com/KJSi31pKd0
“So, this year was basically my comeback year. I came back stronger and I won the gold.
“It’s a very big honour, especially doing it in the green-and-gold, in South African colours, representing my country and making 50 million South Africans proud. That means the world to me.”
“ @usainbolt is an idol of mine . I was watching his views to motivate myself, and I was looking at his 100m and thought, I’ve got to do this! “
– Luke Davids, #BuenosAires2018 100m champion #Athletics pic.twitter.com/0xw3WdJrgy
Davids, who hails from Belhar, is in Grade 10 at Parow High School, but trains under the watch of coach Nathan van Wyk at UWC Athletics Club.
The 17-year-old is planning to study sports science after matric, but he has another big goal on the horizon on the track.
“Next season, I’m going to take it easy as there are no major competitions. It will be like my recovery season. In 2020, it’s the Under-20 world championships, and I hope to do the double in the 100m and 200m.”