Bellville hurdler sets sights on SA champs

Liam Pietersen took gold in the 100m and 400m hurdles events.

With the Western Province High Schools’ athletics season coming to an end, it was no surprise that the Northern Zone once again dominated the junior championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone, at the weekend.

One of the zone’s star performers was Liam Pietersen, 16, who won gold in the boys’ under-18 110m and 400m hurdles events.

Liam, a Grade 11 pupil, was way ahead of his opponents, completing the 110m hurdles in a time of 14.67 seconds and 400m hurdles in 54.63 seconds.

This also saw Liam qualify for the Athletics South Africa (ASA) junior championships, at the Green Point track, in April.

However, he was not the only one to do the double in the hurdles events. His northern zone teammates Marga van der Linde and Juli Vercuiel also achieved the feat, as did False Bay zone’s Chauness Goliath.

Liam, a member of Bellville Athletics Club, will now compete at the Western Cape schools’ championships, at Dal Josafat Stadium, in Paarl, next weekend.

“The wind at the WP champs was a bit of a challenge to deal with but I came prepared for it. I feel that there are some technical issues that I need to work on ahead of the WC champs but other than that I am happy with my performances.

“I don’t like entering a competition with a lot of expectations because I don’t want to disappoint myself.

“I will do the best that I can do and see what the outcome will be at the WC champs. I also hope to better my times,” said Liam who also came first in both the 110m and 400m hurdles events, at the inter-schools and Northern zone championships, at the Bellville Velodrome, last month.

Last year, the youngster could not have asked for a better season as he finished third in the boys’ under-18 400m hurdles event at the ASA junior championships in Johannesburg. He also came third in the boys’ under-17 400m hurdles and was a finalist in the 110m hurdles, at the South African high schools’ championships, in Bloemfontein, last year.

Liam has represented the Western Cape schools’ team at the SA schools’ champs since he was in Grade 8. He is now on a mission to qualify for his fourth national schools’ championships.

“Success keeps me motivated. That single word is what drives me to dream bigger, work harder and give everything I have got,” he said.

Liam credits his parents Miriam and William and his coach Heinrich Primo for everything they have done for him.

“They have played a major role in my athletics career. Without them I would not be where I am today. As a child, I always wanted to try new things, I though tathletics would be fun and ever since then I haven’t stopped loving the sport,” said the Brackenfell High School pupil.

An admirer of Kraaifontein-born Wayde van Niekerk, Liam said it is not where you come from but what you make of it.

“With hard work, anything is possible,” said Liam who has his sights set on the world youth championships, in Kenya, later this year.

“My goals for this year are to qualify for world, commonwealth and African youth championships, later this year. My main goal is to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo, in Japan, in 2020,” he said.