Fearless Rademeyer ready to scale new heights
Cape Town - WHEN thinking of South African pole vaulters, the name Okkert Brits comes to mind, but there's a new kid clearing bars by the name of Kyle Rademeyer.
Kyle, 18, already showed his ability when he became South African youth champion and record holder last year, mastering 5.30m.
Although plagued by injuries earlier this year, Kyle’s hard work during the off-season paid off.
The Grade 12 pupil at Hoërskool Paarl Gimnasium set a new South African junior record, with a clearance of 5.54m in Paarl last weekend. He improved on the previous mark of 5.50m set by Cheyne Rahme in 2010.
Kyle said: “It was really fun to be back at the office and it felt amazing to break a long-standing record. This year has been amazing for me. Although I lost most of my matric year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I learned many life lessons. I focused on my school work, spent time with the family and went for rehab training.”
Kyle’s stellar performances has resulted in his inclusion in the Athletics South Africa preparation squad for next year’s World Athletics U20 Championships in Kenya. He was offered two scholarships at US universities. He chose the University of South Alabama where he will be studying engineering next year.
“I will be in a whole new environment with the sole purpose of exceeding new heights. It really feels amazing and unbelievable. I am really proud of what I have achieved but there is still a long road ahead,” he said.
On competition days, Kyle listens to music to stay calm and chats with his coach or father for motivation. In his bag, he will have his water, spikes, chalk for his hands and his speaker box.
“It all started when my mother and a friend dragged me to a training session a few years ago,” he said.
His message to athletes: “Set yourself goals and never stop working towards them. When you have reached your goals, set new ones. Remember if your dreams don’t scare you they are not big enough. When you ever feel unmotivated go read Matthew 17 verse 20 and Philippians 4 verse 13”.
His father, Radus, said Kyle showed he would excel in sport from a young age.
“We just did not realise that it would be pole vaulting. He has worked so hard and overcame so many setbacks. No words that can describe how truly proud I am of every single accomplishment in his life. He is my superhero,” he said.
His coach, Louis Nienaber, said he is very proud of Kyle for breaking the South African junior record.
“We worked towards this achievement and we both expected the record to be broken by Kyle this year. Kyle started his pole vault career with me at the age of 13 at Paarl Gimnasium. When he joined the Boland Pole Vault Academy I can still remember the first time I put the pole in his hand. He fears nothing and gives his best during practice.
SA men's pole vault record holder, Brits said young vaulters will realise years later what Nienaber is currently doing.
“So many of them have already gone to Europe or America on pole vault scholarships because of his pole vault school in Paarl. Kyle, Nikolai van Huyssteen and so many others have shown the hunger is big to do well and believe they have what it takes to break more records. I’m so proud of all these vaulters just getting better every year,” he said.