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'Soks' Zazini graduates to the seniors

Soks will be running at the SA Seniors next month.
Soks will be running at the SA Seniors next month.
Image: Tobias Ginsberg

SA's 400m hurdles prospect Sokwakhana "Soks" Zazini is ready to compete at senior level after about three years of dominance as a junior.

"I want to be a senior so that I can get more competition. It excites me what is going to happen at SA Seniors [from April 25- 27]. I am going to be lining up there, hopefully I can get a better lane and compete well," said the 18-year-old. "I hate losing, and I will be going for a medal, a gold medal in fact. My mindset is now at senior level."

Having clinched the world youth and junior titles in 2017 and 2018, Zazini was always going to be a drawcard at the Athletic SA (ASA) Youth and Junior Championships at Paarl's Dal Josaphath Stadium in the Western Cape.

The time of 50.72sec that Zazini clocked to win the men's 400m hurdles on the second day of the championships on Thursday shows that the lad from Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape hasn't yet rediscovered his blistering form of last season.

Going to initiation school in December last year, coupled with injuries, and changing his previous coach Hannie Kriel for a new one in Lucinda Pienaar, are some of the reasons Zazini has been sluggish so far this year.

"Unfortunately, I went to initiation school in December at home ... that was some kind of a setback. But I'm recovering from that. This is my third race this year and running like this after what happened in December is really surprising and exciting," he said. "I have also been struggling with small recurring injuries but I'm managing them well. I'm also adapting after changing coaches."

The ASA Youth and Junior champs were concluded yesterday. "It's really hard to talk about my injuries. I don't want to come up with an excuse when I lose and say I was injured and all that stuff, so I'd rather keep details of my injuries to myself.

"I'm now working with Pienaar since the beginning of the year," said the Gauteng North Athletics runner.

"Of course, at the beginning we didn't really have a good relationship, but it's now building up nicely. Because she's a woman, she's more caring and is a mother figure. There are times when she's tough on us so that we don't take advantage of the fact that she is a woman."

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