May 2 2017 – SA’s junior wrestlers claimed an impressive 18 medals over the weekend at the African Junior Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, winning 5 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze.
South Africa finished fourth on the medals table.
Edrich Nortje, of the University of Pretoria (Tuks), won gold in the Cadets Under-58kg freestyle category was one of the star performers. He won all his fights without conceding any points and pinned all his opponents, a rare tournament feat.
Nortje has been invited by the United World Wrestling Federation to attend their “More than Medals Training Camp” in Morocco.
Ruan Botha won gold in the Cadets Under-85kg freestyle category, with a dominant performance in the final. Perseverance paid off for the Tuks youngster, after he had to withdraw from the African Championship, with a broken finger.
Brandon Kidson quit the sport for two years ago, only to start wrestling again last year. He won silver in the Junior Greco-Roman Under-58kg category, beaten on points in the final.
Jaco le Roux won a silver medal in the Cadet Under-100kg freestyle category. It was the first time that the Tuks wrestler had competed in the Under-17 age group.
Dylan Marais, who received the award as South Africa’s best junior wrestler in 2016, won a silver medal in the Junior Under-86kg freestyle category. The Tuks wrestler finished 10th at last year’s Junior World Championships.
Judah de Beer lost in the Junior Under-97kg freestyle final to the defending African champion, after an impressive performance at the championships. He only resumed training at the beginning of the year, after an absence of 5 years.
Leanco Stans won a bronze medal in the Junior Women’s Under-66kg freestyle category, improving one position on her fourth place in 2016. She has represented SA at every African Championships since 2013.
Stans was given a bursary by the United World Wrestling Federation, to train with some of Europe’s top female wrestlers in Finland, as part of her preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She is the first female wrestler from Africa to attend the Academy. – ANA