Sprinter Kyle Appel scooped two medals on Sunday, leading a South African onslaught as the national team rocketed up the standings with four more podium places on the fifth and final day of the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Appel, who had been disqualified for a false start in the 100m semi-finals, made up for his disappointment by grabbing second place in the boys’ 200m final in 20.57 seconds, as he broke Gift Leotlela’s SA youth record by 0.06.
Leotlela finished fifth in 20.86, with Abdul Sani Brown of Japan winning the race in 20.34, bettering Jamaican Usain Bolt’s championship record as he secured the sprint double.
Appel went on to turn out a scorching final leg of the mixed 4x400m relay final to hold off the Canadian team down the home straight for another silver medal.
The South Africans – also including Nikolas Marich, Taylon Bieldt and Renate van Tonder – crossed the line in 3:23.60, and while their Canadian opponents clocked the same time, they were given second place after the times were rounded down.
In the boys’ javelin throw final, Paul Botha launched a personal best of 78.49m, improving his previous career record by nearly four metres to win gold ahead of decathlon champion Niklas Kaul of Germany, who ended second with a best attempt of 78.05m.
Botha’s compatriot, Hercules van Vuuren, took fifth position with a 74.68m heave.
Capping a spectacular session for the national squad, Nicola de Bruyn earned the bronze medal in the girls’ 200m final.
De Bruyn covered the half-lap distance in 23.38, just 0.08 outside Evette de Klerk’s 33-year-old SA youth record, with American Candace Hill setting a world youth best of 22.43 to wrap up the girls’ sprint double.
The SA team ended fifth overall in the final standings with five medals (two gold, two silver and one bronze).