The University of Pretoria’s own Zeney van der Walt takes the world stage this October at the Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. She will be competing in the Women’s 400m hurdles after having comfortably qualified and been selected to represent South Africa. This will be the first time she represents her country in a major competition at Senior level.
Zeney van der Walt has been in great shape this year, having been crowned South African Senior Champion in Germiston as well as collecting the silver medal in Napoli at the World Student Games in July. The 19-year-old continued her reputation of winning a medal at every major championship she has competed in over the past 3 years. This includes winning gold at the World Youth and World Junior Championships.
This exposure to the highest level of competition could very well propel her to better her season’s best of 55.73 seconds which she achieved in Napoli. However, it is difficult to reach and maintain peak form for both the South African competition season and the Northern Hemisphere season (combing to around 6 months). This, combined with the academic demands of university life, would make her success that much more impressive.
Van der Walt will be one of the youngest to compete at the tournament, and the experience could prove vital for the rest of her career. Her personal best of 55.05 seconds for the 400m hurdles, which she ran in March 2018, is near to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification time of 54.70 seconds. Van der Walt’s efforts in Doha will not go unnoticed, as she makes herself, her country and us at her university proud.
Image: Instagram, Zeney van der Walt -zeney_vdwalt