Passion. That is what drives Janke van Wyk (21), a Maties athlete and third-year Education student, to train up to 18 hours per week.
This preparation came to fruition when Janke achieved her best performance in her athletics career to date by winning a silver medal in the 100m hurdles event at the recent SA Senior Athletics Championships.
“I'm very satisfied and proud of myself. I trained many hours and worked very hard," she says.
She started running hurdles in primary school and competed in her first national competition in Grade 9, when she was a learner at Stellenberg High School.
“Running hurdles is exciting and challenging. It's not easy to combine speed and skill for this item, but it is a lot of fun!"
Janke trains up to three hours per day, six days per week.
“Athletics is my passion. If sport is in your blood, it is in your blood. I never considered giving up athletics when I came to university."
The feeling of satisfaction she experiences at the end of a race is her motivation to continue.
“Even though every race doesn't always go according to plan, I know that I give my best in each training session, and that's what it is all about. Training is never a burden for me."
She really enjoys Varsity Athletics meets. This year, she won silver and bronze at the two events held in March.
“I'm so glad that this opportunity was created for athletes. Athletics is a very lonely sport, but at this event you compete as a member of a team. It makes it so much more enjoyable."
Janke would love to represent South Africa on the athletics track one day. She is also looking forward to qualifying as a teacher and continuing her passion for athletics by coaching.
This resident of Monica women's residence had to find a balance between her sport and her studies.
“I attend class during the day and go to training as soon as classes are over. I spend my evenings behind the books. It was difficult at the beginning, because I travel quite often. I've learned to do as much work as I can in advance and to study on aeroplanes. I've established a routine, so it isn't a problem anymore. And without athletics, I wouldn't be the person and the athlete I am today."