Despite picking up five medals, including three golds, at the first Varsity Athletics meeting in Potchefstroom on Friday, Bestmed NMMU-Madibaz will be chasing a stronger performance in the second event later this month.
Madibaz Athletics manager Nellis Bothma said although they were proud of what their athletes had achieved, they were aiming for an even bigger medal haul at the University of Pretoria on March 31.
The star of the night for Madibaz was field athlete Ischke Senekal, who threw her way to golds in the shot put and discus, setting a new Varsity Athletics mark in the former event with a personal best of 16.67m.
High jump star Garth Ellis leapt to gold and colleague Blaze Thompson finished in the bronze medal position in the same event.
A second bronze for Madibaz came from Anita Madike in the women’s long jump.
“I’m very impressed with the individual performances of some of our athletes, who have been so competitive,” said Bothma.
“To contend with the top teams, who have much greater depth, is difficult, but we still manage.”
While praising the athletes, he added they would be looking for a better team showing in Pretoria.
“We want to move up at least one position and, looking at the quality of our athletes, we are capable of doing it,” he said after Madibaz finished seventh out of eight teams.
“We still have some other athletes to consider and we hope to include them in the next meeting.”
Bothma said the athletes had been working hard to achieve their goals.
“Ischke wants to try to break the national record or, at least, get very close to it. She has the right attitude, she has the power, and I think she can do it.
“Garth, who has a personal best of 2.15, is aiming for 2.20 this season.
“He also wants to write the Varsity Athletics record behind his name after failing in all three of his attempts on Friday.”
Bothma said that although Ellis’ PB trumped the current best, it was achieved outside of the varsity competition.
He said while their coaches put in much time to improve the student-athletes’ performances, they were still looking to bolster their coaching staff in certain areas.
“We are looking to invest in coaches in specific disciplines, which would add value to our team as a whole.”