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Hopetown speed king eyes sprint glory


TJ van der Walt outclassed his peers at last weekend’s ASA meet in Potchefstroom.

Hopetown’s sprint sensation TJ van der Walt has been burning up the track as he eyes bigger things. Picture: Supplied.

HOPETOWN Hoërskool speed king, TJ van der Walt (17) has signalled his intentions of challenging for glory in the sprint and middle-distance races in which he outclassed his peers at last weekend’s Athletics SA (ASA) sanctioned meet in Potchefstroom.

Van der Walt took part in the first staging of ASA’s tri-provincial meet since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Athletes from the Free State, Northern Cape and North West provinces tested the field at the University of Potchefstroom’s PUK McArthur Stadium.

The Hopetown-based grade 11 scholar breasted the tape for a personal best in the 100m sprint at 10.78. He repeated that feat in the 400m race where he clocked 49.59. He was far from happy with his time in the latter race having previously clocked 49.20 at the same venue last year.

TJ, who is coached by his mother Maryna van der Walt, cut his teeth in athletics a tad from his nappy years when he was in grade one. He has, over the years, generally tackled both the sprint and middle distances as well as the long jump. He has had to briefly give up on the long jump because of picking up a recent injury.

His fans on social media showered the lanky TJ with praise for his latest showing in Potchefstroom.

“Congratulations TJ van der Walt with your wonderful time of 10.78 in the 100m and 49.59 in the 400m. TJ you won both these races! So proud of you!!! We look forward to a fantastic season!”

His coach said they had not necessarily aimed at doing well in the sprint event but merely wanted to use it as a warm-up and timing mechanism for the longer distances.

She said they have their eyes set on an upcoming event due to take place in Paarl, in the Western Cape from April 8-11 this year.