World under-18 champion Zeney van der Walt easily made the step up to under-20 as she crunched the fastest time of the 400m hurdles heats at the world championships in Finland on Wednesday morning.
Van der Walt was the only one to dip under 58 seconds as she won her heat in 57.78sec.
Canada’s Xahria Santiago was second-fastest overall in 58.09‚ with Shiann Salmon of Jamaica next best in 58.14.
The matric pupil at the Afrikaans Hoer Meisieskool in Pretoria‚ who turned 18 in May‚ is younger by at least several months than her two closest rivals — and she has a faster personal best than both.
Van der Walt clocked 55.05 finishing second at the SA senior championships behind Olympian Wenda Nel earlier this year.
The semifinals are scheduled for Thursday with the final on Friday.
In other action on Wednesday morning‚ Meike Strydom advanced to the final of the women’s shot put later in the day. And Gabriel Louw advanced to the men’s 400m semifinals.