The Bestmed Madibaz Athletics Club, in conjunction with Eastern Province Athletics, will host an important meeting at Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday involving both seniors and juniors.
This meeting, which will provide athletes with the opportunity to achieve qualifying times for national events, will have just two age categories – senior athletes (born 1999 or before) and junior athletes (born 2000 or after).
Bestmed Madibaz Athletics Club manager Nellis Bothma said the meeting, which gets under way at 9am, would enable them and the athletes to achieve a number of goals.
“Firstly this is a big opportunity for athletes to prove themselves ahead of the important national competitions this year,”said Bothma.
“Because the Commonwealth Games are being held relatively early [in Australia in April], most of the senior national events have been brought forward.
“This will be one of the last chances for athletes to secure qualifying times for the big meetings ahead.”
He added that they would have electronic timing for the sprint events to fall in line with the qualifying standards set by Athletics South Africa.
With the EP championships and Varsity Athletics taking place on March 2, Bothma said it was also a chance for athletes to gauge their level of conditioning at this stage of the season.
“There are a number of teams to be selected in the next month so it is a good time for all the athletes to see where they are in terms of fitness.”
A third goal of the meeting was to unearth new talent, he said, as they often discovered athletes who had the potential to go far in the sport.
“We invite all interested student athletes to participate and it will be interesting to see what talent emerges during the day,” said Bothma.
“We do have a number of first-years in our club to whom we have offered bursaries and they will be there to show what they can do.
“But it is also a chance for those who may not have been aware of our bursary programme to make an impression and, possibly, join our club.”
He said coaches would be looking for out for any promising performers they could encourage to take athletics more seriously to ensure the Bestmed Madibaz club remained in a healthy state.
Other clubs in the region would also get an opportunity to parade their talent during the meeting, added Bothma.
The entry is free for Madibaz students and staff, while visiting senior and junior athletes will pay a fee of R20.
Bothma said athletes had to be licensed, but that there would be an opportunity to purchase a temporary licence for R30.
“Athletes can enter either for their school or for their club in this competition, but not for both,” he said.
“Club and school athletes must participate in their respective colours, while teams cannot combine members from different clubs or schools.”