“There are many fathers who get to share their passion for sports with their sons. But there are not many dads who earned gold medals in the same event and the same championship as their son.”
Northern Cape father and son duo Theo Senekal Senior and Theo Junior both struck gold at last weekend’s Free State Masters Track and Field Championships at the Mangaung Stadium in Bloemfontein where both jumped themselves to medal glory.
Senekal Snr quipped afterwards: “There are many fathers who get to share their passion for sports with their sons. But there are not many dads who earned gold medals in the same event and the same championship as their son.”
“To have my son work and compete beside me is one of the greatest honours of my life, a real privilege. Now he knows everyone can have off-days and it’s how you respond to them that counts. You have to show character and resolve and most of all you must keep your belief.
“I, for one, was not strong enough but I didn’t care as much about technique,” Theo Sr. added. “Sometimes you have to use your brains, too.”
The father-son combination from Kimberley Diamond Athletic Club grabbed a gold medal apiece in their respective high jump events. Senekal junior in the open men’s high jump and Theo senior in the senior men’s category.
It became clear that the two share a mutual admiration when the DFA spoke to Senekal Junior.
“I was very happy for my Dad for a variety of reasons. For coaching me for so many years and standing next to him while competing and going on to win a gold medal in the same event is very special. I must admit it was very emotional standing next to him,” Theo Jnr said.
This was by no means the Northern Cape’s only achievement at the games. More athletes from the Northern Cape specifically the Sol Plaatje University’s athletics squad, made podium finishes at the same event.
In the long jump Cheslin van Wyk achieved a 6.97-metre stretch. He topped that up with a stint in the senior men’s high jump event where he went up 1.8 metres.
In the sprints, Thabo Koboekae entered for the 100-metre event and clocked 11.4sec. Koboekae also joined the 200m race and set the track ablaze in 22.7 seconds.
Another Griqualand West athlete Annemien van Schalkwyk entered the women’s long jump event where she achieved a 4.97-metre leap. In the 100 metre dash, Van Schalkwyk clocked 13 seconds.
Christopher Mphawana was another GW athlete who shone brightly at the 800-meter event of the Mangaung games where he stopped the clock in 22 minutes and 24 seconds. Mphawana was equally impressive in the shorter 400-metre dash where he notched 48.4 seconds.
Myron DeWee was exceptional in his turn at the 200-metre dash where he did 22 minutes 4 seconds, and 48.4 seconds in the 400-metre event. Izak Curtis clipped the 100-meter dash in 11.2 seconds and did the 200-metre event in 22.6 seconds.
Sol Plaatje University team representative Gys Smith confirmed that DeWee, whose competitive events included many top athletes from Kovsies (Free State University), was selected to partake in the upcoming 2020 meeting as part of the Griekwas Athletics contingent.
The venue for this meeting has yet to be announced.