Lionel Williams’ leap into the record books

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TO RUN the heats and finals of the 100m and 200m and participate in the long jump on one day –and win those events — are admirable. Right at the top one man did it — at the 1984 LA Summer Olympics – Carl Lewis, except the great man won all four medals (100, 200, long jump and relay) over a couple of days in the Olympics, spanning two weeks. By all manner of means a great achievement by Lewis at the highest level of athletics.
Of course, Jesse Owens did it, too, in 1936 when all the nations were present, unlike 1984. The Russians had boycotted the event in retaliation to the Americans who had boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Just blame the boycott on politics.

Lionel Williams
Sprint sensation Lionel Williams of Gordon High School wins the boys under 17 200m race at the Athlone Stadium in March 1985.

On Athlone Stadium and elsewhere few had achieved this feat – in one day! Top of the list, in my book, goes to Lionel Williams. His school, Gordon High, called him Carl Lewis. He pretty much ran like Carl Lewis and jumped like Carl Lewis, that’s why. Matured for his age group, boys under 17, Lionel Williams, 16, leapt to an all-comers long jump record of 7,57m at Western Province senior schools’ level. The SA schools’ boys open record stood at 7,67m held by Daniel Orange set in 1986 – the man from Atlantis. We will never know whether the talented Lionel Williams would have surpassed the 7,67m record as his life was tragically cut short, by a madman’s knife, the year he had set the long jump record – 1985. He was under 17, with one more season to go before he would have participated in the boys open division.

Marvellous to watch

In the 100 and 200 and relay, he was marvellous to watch, shifting effortlessly on the home straight. He was a big bloke for his age, much like Parkwood High’s Caval Marthinussen and Spes Bona High’s Andre Alexander.

In fact, Lionel Williams served up the same excitement as Marthinussen and Alexander did in the 100m in 1980 and 1981 seasons. In the 200m, Alexander had no peer. Of course, there were more athletes who had achieved the goal of winning these four events on the same day.

Craig Steyn

Fifteen-year-old Shaun Vester, competing in the boys’ under 16 100, 200, 4X100 and long jump in 1985, would have been mesmerized by Williams in 1985.

Vester was busy carving out his brilliant athletics career at the time. Lionel Williams was the new golden boy of the blue riband event, following Marthinussen and Alexander, certainly at WP senior schools.
Williams was the talk of the town.
Vester’s fiercest rival Craig Steyn would have done the same.

Top juniors

In fact, Craig Steyn, representing Boland in the under 17 age group, achieved the feat in the 100 (10,7 missed the record by .1secs), 200 (21,7 (SASSSA record) and long jump 7,05m (SASSSA record) at SASSSA level in 1985.
Vester and Steyn were the two top junior athletes (boys under 19/junior men) to have participated in the 100, 200 and long jump events during sports isolation. They beat each other almost all the time in these events. Teano Patience would trouble them in the 200m.

Steyn and Vester were regular 7 metre-plus jumpers, sub 11s in the 100 and sub 22s in the 200. By far the pick of the crop these two.

Senior level

Lionel Williams
Lionel Williams of Gordon High School wins the boys under 17 200m 4X100m relay race.

At senior level, Daniel Orange sat on top of the pile, a wonderful and talented long jump pile which included Norman Newfeldt, Willem Jansen, Trevor De Bruyn, Vernon Bergins, Thabiet Abrahams, and Lucas Koopman.
There were many excellent long jumpers of other generations other than those names mentioned above; Selwyn Thomas (1970s), Wade Moses (1980s as junior), Ian Rutgers (1970s) and Eugene Moleon (1990s).

Excellent rugby player

Dean Daniels. What about Dean Daniels? Here is a sportsman who would go on to be an excellent rugby player. In athletics, he was more than ok, pretty good, ok, I’d say. Like Shaun Henry of Livingstone (100m and shot put), Dean Daniels would earn his place in the province team by winning the long jump and shot put events respectively, not just winning, doing so in record style in 1987 (boys under 14) and 1988 (boys under 15)!
• The names listed are not dismissive of any other hardworking athletes.

Web Suzie long
Suezette Arendse.

That is all the distance Suezette Arendse had taken to set the SAAAB long jump record. It was magnificent. Without asking her, I have a gut feeling long jump had been her favourite event.

Tom Tellez

King Carl favoured the long jump. In fact, it was the event that had launched his career before coach Tom Tellez converted him into a sprint champion.
Arendse was a sprint, long jump champion, and record-holder. She was a record-holder through senior schools, colleges and club athletics.

Before waxing about Odessa Krause and Sandra Petersen, there’s Noreen Julie.
Bespectacled Noreen Julie. Noreen Julie of Westridge High was an awesome long jumper. She was not a bad sprinter, either.

Sandra Petersen
Sandra Petersen.

Julie held the girls’ under, 15, 16 and 17 long jump records at WP senior schools by the time the records books closed post 1994 and her best distance had been 5,97m in 1992, aged 15 in 1992. (girls under 16)

Phenomenal athletes

Krause and Petersen were phenomenal athletes in the 100m, 200m. Petersen was also a long champion and record holder at junior ladies level.  There is a tendency to group Arendse, Krause and Petersen together as the best at the three sprinters.

Yolanda Titus

Spare a thought for Yolanda Titus. Talent, for sure. Titus, as the youngster of the youngsters, relegated Petersen to the occasional silver medal. Titus went on to establish herself as a top sprint/long jump champion and record-holder. Titus broke sprint and long jump records at schools and clubs. She held the SASSSA girls under 15 100m records of 12,1 secs and the 200m of 26,1 secs in 1985. A terrific shine, indeed.
• The names listed are not dismissive of any other hardworking athletes.

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