Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Kyle Blignaut hoping to get the best out of himself at World Champs

"I feel like I'm in good shape, so hopefully I can go over there and throw a personal best."

Following a relatively quiet build-up to the track and field showpiece, Olympic finalist Kyle Blignaut hopes to cap his season with an explosive performance at the World Athletics Championships starting in Budapest this weekend.

A former world junior shot put champion, Blignaut took sixth place at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, at the age of 21, and he went on to grab the silver medal at the African Championships in Mauritius last year. But he showed he still had work to do, settling for seventh position at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and missing out on the World Championships in Eugene.

Eager to make a statement on his debut at this year’s senior World Championships, the 23-year-old athlete made a slower start than usual to his 2023 season, skipping most of the domestic campaign in order to focus on the global spectacle.

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Following his superb result at the Tokyo Games, he was hoping to edge closer to the podium by securing a top-five finish in the Hungarian capital, as he looked ahead to next year’s Olympics in Paris.

“I’d like to make the final again (in Budapest) and hopefully do better than I did at the last Olympics, just to have that stepping stone and to build that confidence going into next year’s Olympics,” he said this week before departing with the rest of the SA team for the World Championships.

‘Good shape’

Ranked only 32nd in the world this year, with a season’s best of 20.83 metres which he set in Norway in June, Blignaut prepared for the World Championships with a short stint in Europe before returning home to sharpen up.

Despite his lowly global ranking, he felt confident of putting up a fight, with his sights set on improving his personal best of 21.21m.

“After coming back home (from Europe) I’ve managed to work with my coach and sort out a few things technically that I’ve been struggling with for the last year-and-a-half,” he said.

“So I feel like I’m in good shape and hopefully I can go over there and throw a personal best.”

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