SA shot-putter displays balls of steel at world champs

11 July 2018 - 13:37 By David Isaacson
Kyle Blignaut holds up the South African national flag after winning the men's shot put final with a distance of 22.07m during the afternoon session on day 1 of the IAAF World U20 Championships at Tampere Stadium on July 10, 2018/
Kyle Blignaut holds up the South African national flag after winning the men's shot put final with a distance of 22.07m during the afternoon session on day 1 of the IAAF World U20 Championships at Tampere Stadium on July 10, 2018/
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Wearing his heart on his arm and holding a 6kg steel ball in his hand‚ Kyle Blignaut clinched victory with his penultimate throw at the world under-20 championships in Tampere on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old’s triumph gave South Africa their first gold on the opening day of the competition‚ but it required serious bottle.

Blignaut had taken the early lead with his opening two attempt of 20.89m and 21.12m‚ but in the fifth round American Adrian Piperi‚ 19‚ unleashed a massive 22.06m that not only gave him the lead‚ but also rocketed him to fifth on the all-time under-20 world list.

Blignaut retaliated immediately‚ stepping into the circle and heaving the shot one centimetre further.

“Adrian brought the best out of me with that big shot‚” Blignaut was quoted as saying on the IAAF’s competition website.

Odysseas Mouzenidis of Greece‚ also 19‚ took the bronze exactly one metre behind the South African on 21.07.

When they graduate to senior competition they will have to deal with a shot that weighs 7.26kg.

Among the South Africans in action on Wednesday are world under-18 champion Zeney van der Walt in the women’s 400m hurdles heats and Thembo Monareng in the 100m semifinals.

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