JOHANNESBURG - South Africa had an unlucky second day at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland after Kyle Blignaut’s shot put gold on the opening night on Tuesday.
Sprinter Thembo Monareng and women’s shot-putter Meike Strydom both featured in finals during Wednesday's evening session. Both narrowly missed out on medals with Monareng stopping the clock just 0.01s short of the bronze medal in the men’s 100m final.
Monareng was fast out of the blocks but was pipped at the line with Indonesia’s Lalu Muhammad Zohiri winning with a time of 10.18 seconds. The second and third place was decided on a photo finish with American Anthony Schwartz claiming silver with compatriot Eric Harrison bagging bronze with both clocking 10.22.
Monareng had to be content with a fourth-place finish with a time of 10.23. Strydom finished fifth in the shot put final with a best effort of 15.89m with New Zealand athlete Madison-Lee Wesche winning with 17.09m.
During the morning session of the second day, world youth champion Zeney van der Walt coasted through to the women’s 400m hurdles semi-final posting the fastest time of the heats clocking 57.78 seconds. The South African junior record holder came into the championships as the overwhelming favourite courtesy of her personal best time of 55.05.
One-lap sprinter Gabriel Louw advanced to the 400m semi-final finishing second in his heat with a time of 47.32. Pole vaulter Valco van Wyk cleared 5.20m to book his place in Saturday’s final.
On Tuesday Burley teenager Blignaut smashed his national junior record with a fifth-round heave of 22.07 metres to claim the victory on the first day of the championships. The pre-competition favourite sent out a warning shot in the opening round taking the lead with a throw of 20.89m before further strengthening his grip of the gold with a second effort of 21.12m. He briefly slipped into second place when Adrian Piperi of the United States launched a 22.06m heave in the fifth round.
The South African hit back in the same round improving his national junior record by 42 centimetres. Neither Blignaut or Piperi improved on their best in the final round with the South African claiming the gold.