Boksburg flexes its muscle at Strongman Africa Championship

Xena Botha.

A quartet of powerlifting athletes from Boksburg won three gold medals and one silver between them at the Strongman Africa Championship recently held at the Malichri Lion Lodge in Rustenburg.

All competitors were required to go through five gruelling events where they would be ranked according to their total points collected after completing all events.

The Advertiser quizzed the champions on their achievements.

Men u-80kg gold medallist Markus Jansen van Rensburg, who competed solo due to a lack of competition in his field, said, “I’m happy with the results but I prefer competing with other guys because it pushes you. It gives you a reason to compete and to work towards something.”

In the yoke event, the Freeway Park resident was pitted against the u-90kg athletes and instead of having to complete the 20m walk with 270kg on his shoulders, he was required to carry 300kg.

Jansen van Rensburg also broke the event’s deadlift record for the men u-80kg of 262.5kg. He raised the bar to 280kg.

Elsewhere, double Africa record holder Xena Botha outlasted one of the strongest women in the country, Melissa Sweeney, in the ladies’ u-82kg category.

The former rugby player powered to a convincing gold as she did one over Sweeney in all their events.

“I’ve only been doing strongman for a year now and I have been competing in the open class division and decided last year I am going to drop to the middleweight class. It was tough dropping and I felt drained but my strength remained the same so I was happy with my performance.

“Melissa is exceptional with the yoke walk so I was really happy when I beat her in that event.”

Men u-90kg champion JP Steyn could not be reached for comment.

Atlasville heavyweight and silver medalist David Bezuidenhout, who participated in the more challenging men u-105kg, said, “To be honest, I only decided to compete a week before the event. We normally give ourselves two months to prepare for an event of this magnitude.

“I didn’t go there to win so I’m happy with my finishing position.”

Bezuidenhout is a South African Championship silver medallist and an international Strongman Champions League participant. He featured in 2015 in Norway and last year in Finland.

Himself, Botha and Jansen van Rensburg are students of Asylum powerlifting firm founder and competitor Justin Roestof, also from Boksburg.

Another athlete who’s under Roestof’s tutelage, Brendali Theron, walked away with gold in the women u-64kg class. It was her second gold of the competition.

“It feels really good. It’s my second year winning so it feels really amazing. I aim to defend my title later this year after the Arnold Classic in May.”

Beyers Park’s men u-90kg competitor, Morne Peyper, who settled for fourth place, said, “I’m fairly new in the sport and my journey so far has been very exciting.

“I have achieved a lot of small goals that I’ve set for myself and I have also seen my strength increase over the last year,” explained the 26-year-old.

“This is a very tough sport and takes a lot of time and dedication to get where you want to be. Me being fourth at Africa’s was a good feeling for me because I was only one point behind the person who placed third. I saw the weaknesses I have to work on and try to improve on them by the next big competition which will be Arnold’s held in May.

“So I just have to keep grinding and then grind some more and with a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and dedication, I might also be on that podium one day.” – @SabeloBoksburg

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Sabelo Mashego
Sports Journalist

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