Chederick van Wyk returned from the 30th edition of the International University Summer Games in Italy with medals in the 100 and 200 metre dashes.
Northern Cape athlete Chederick van Wyk (24) was welcomed by family and friends when he arrived at the Kimberley airport yesterday. And part of the welcome party was Bernice Sinxeve the provincial MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture.
Van Wyk returned from the 30th edition of the International University Summer Games in Naples, Italy with two silver medals garnered in the 100 and 200-metre races during the Games that were held last week.
The young athlete clocked a personal best of 20.44 seconds in the 200-metres and 10.23sec in the 100-metre dash competing against a strong field of international university notables. He said an unfortunate mishap during Team SA’s baton change-over during the 100-metre relay contributed to the quartet not making it into the finals.
Commenting on the Games Van Wyk said: “I am very happy with the result. I didn’t go there for second place. I went there to win.”
The first-year Education degree student at the University of the North West credited a high school teacher for introducing him to athletics as well as rugby. However, a sports injury in rugby coupled with his being skinny helped him make up his mind to concentrate on athletics instead.
He said his university of the North West athletics coach Werner Burger helped him a lot in this latest adventure. Burger had taken the trouble of accompanying the University SA team on his own purse to assist van Wyk and some of the athletes whom he coached privately. Burger was not on the official team list for the University Games.
Van Wyk said part of his preparations for the races, in general, are helped immensely by conversing with the Almighty in prayers.
“I usually ask for guidance. I tell Him what is my plan. When I run a race the first time on coming back I then tell him what I want.
“He (the Almighty) plays a big role in my life.”
Van Wyk shares a sports agent in Peet van Zyl along with SA’s sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk, who coincidentally also first made his mark in the very same University Games in Rio, Brazil in 2013. The other athlete Van Zyl manages is Akani Simbine who turned in a season’s best of 9.93sec on Saturday during an IAAF Diamond League meeting in London.
Van Wyk said he is going to take a short rest and make time to relax with his family and girlfriend who are all in Prieska. Thereafter he will start preparations for the upcoming 12th African Games due to take place in Rabat, Morocco from August 19-31.
Yesterday, ahead of Van Wyk’s arrival, Sinxeve congratulated the athlete on his remarkable achievement. She said that his achievement through his hard work, commitment and dedication has resulted in the athlete reaping the benefits. She said that Chederick had now become a true ambassador and role model for the youth of this province.
“It is imperative that Chederick gets the necessary guidance and support to assist him to handle his newly-acclaimed fame and that he maintains a good balance in ensuring that his studies at the University of the North West remain at a good standard,” Sinxeve said.
“As a province, we are ecstatic to have such a rising star in the form of Chederick Van Wyk. We will strive to continuously unearth and nurture local talent. We will also try and provide an ideal platform for young aspiring athletes to express their sporting talent in the Northern Cape,” she added.