Talented 12-year-old athlete scoops two golds

Mthetho Ndoni

A TALENTED young Port Elizabeth-born athlete collected two gold medals at the recent Biathle World Championships held in Dubai.

It is the second time that 12-year-old Lesley Blignaut, who grew up in Cleary Estate, has represented South Africa after competing in the 2010 championships, when she was only nine.

This time around, the Grade 7, Central Primary School pupil came first in the Youth D (under-12) female final section and also won gold in the team category.

She said the race began with a packed start of 24 runners who completed a 500-metre run, a 50m swim and another 500m dash.

“The race was very tough but it wasn’t as difficult and gruelling as it was in 2010,” said Blignaut.

She said she had prepared well for the event and had known what to expect because of her previous experience.

“My high level performance in the heat session boosted my chances of reaching the final. It felt good to win one gold medal, let alone two.”

Blignaut’s parents left Port Elizabeth for King William’s Town a few years ago but they still visit PE every weekend.

Blignaut is ranked in the top 10 of all her strokes in South Africa and she has also received provincial colours in netball, athletics and cross-country. She also has SA colours in biathlon.

Her mother, Yolanda, said her daughter started participating in biathle in 2010 and she was selected to represent the country in Dubai the same year.

“She runs an average of 1.5km three times a week, swims three days a week and does aerobics sessions as well.”

Yolanda said her daughter not only excelled at sport but was also firmly focused on doing well at school.

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