The University of Johannesburg (UJ) shot putter, Dane Roets, scooped a bronze medal with a 15.61m throw at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, 21 August 2021. The competition comprised almost 1,000 athletes representing over 110 teams, including South Africa.
Held over five days, the event was organised at the Moi International Sports Complex Stadium from 18 to 22 August 2021. South Africa had 54 athletes (29 men and 25 women) participating in various sporting codes.
Roets, a first-year Bachelor of Accounting student-Athlete, is also a former 2018 African Youth Games champion.
“I am happy with my win. Although I got a bronze medal, it was enough for me to win it. I last competed internationally in 2019 at the Youth and Junior African championships,” says Roets.
The shot put specialist says that what makes her bronze medal even more special is that she overcame challenges, including adapting to varsity life and training during a pandemic.
“Over the last two years with the COVID-19 national lockdown and transitioning from high school to university, it was quite an adjustment and thus I needed enough effort for practice. I also had issues with my ankle and knee. Due to this, there were certain times when I could not practice as I should have. This is why this medal is a great win for me,” explains Roets.
Roets says she was proud of how Team SA performed at the games. “I am proud of our junior team, we delivered a total of 9 medals, coming very close to being the best junior team that SA has ever sent to Junior World championships. The best team had achieved a total of 10 medals. I am also proud to be a part of this team. Each athlete gave their very best and fought to the end in their events. The people that formed our team are hard-working and dedicated. The potential in this team is unlimited,” she says.
Like the other athletes worldwide, Roets prepared for the games during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Training during COVID-19 was a bit of a challenge. Luckily, my dad had previously built an at-home practice area in our backyard, long before COVID-19 came. This enabled me to focus on my technique and not on distance as I could only throw into a net,” says Roets.
She adds, “Even though athletics is an individual sport, I still have training partners and without them, it got a bit lonely sometimes. It was hard to stay motivated in a situation where I did not know if my technique and distances improved.
“Another demotivating thing was not knowing when we would be able to continue with normal competitions and practice. The pandemic made us miss out on some competitions last year.”
She is now shifting her focus to the upcoming competitions in 2022. “The 2022 season is a rather big year when it comes to athletics. There will be World Senior Championships, Commonwealth Games and the World Student Games. I don’t know if it would be possible to compete in all of these, but I will most definitely be giving it my all”.
Some of Roets’ achievements include:
2021 – U20 silver medal in shot put and 4th in discus at Junior ASA nationals
– U20 4th in shot put and 6th in discus at Senior ASA nationals
– U20 bronze medal in shot put and 4th in discus at USSA’s
– U20 bronze medal in shot put for team SA at the World Junior Championships(Kenya)
2019 – U18 gold medal and SA record in shot put, also gold medal in the discus at high school nationals
– U18 gold medal and SA record in shot put, also gold medal in the discus at ASA nationals
– U18 gold medal in shot put and discus for team SA at the Youth and Junior African Championships (Ivory coast)
– U18 first South African female to go over 18m with the 3kg shot (Naboom, Top 20, 18.17m)