THAABIET Abrahams of the Vygieskraal-based Spartans Amateur Athletics Club was a tremendous athlete in all three disciplines of the jump events: long jump, high jump and triple jump.
He was at the peak of his performance in 1985 and 1986 when he won back-to-back SA titles in the triple jump – his favourite event.
By then, Abrahams had taken over the triple jump mantle from another excellent jump athlete Trevor de Bruyn of Caledon, who was a former South African record holder in all three jump events. In 1984, Daniel Orange of Atlantis broke De Bruyn’s high jump (2,06m) and long jump records (7,12m). Orange recorded 7,28m in the long jump and 2,10m in the high jump.
In 1985, Abrahams broke De Bruyn’s triple record of 14,47m, improving it to 14,54m at a club meeting at the Vygieskraal Stadium.
All three of De Bruyn’s records were off the books, but this did not minimise his place in athletics over many years.
De Bruyn was a terrific champion of these events since 1979 when he took over the mantle from the legendary Patrick Dowman of Western Province at the South African Amateur Athletic Board’s (SAAAB) meeting in Durban, the year Robin McLean won the 100m (10,6 secs) and the 200m (21,5 secs) at senior men’s level.
De Bruyn, representing the South African Colleges in the famous green and gold tracksuit, beat Dowman and Garry Watts (Boland) into second and third place respectively. The talent
in the jumps events at the SAAAB meeting in 1979, included Charlie Cavernelis of Boland, a previous record holder and champion in the high jump event. They were a tremendous quartet in the jump events.
De Bruyn’s senior career lasted until 1985 by which time he had established himself as a school teacher.
His successor, the slightly-built jumper, Abrahams, performed with literally a spring in his step and beautiful rhythm in the four-phase event in 1985 as opposed to the big and powerful modern-day jumpers. He was light on his feet.
Abrahams won the South African Amateur Athletic Board’s (SAAAB) title in 1985 in Port Elizabeth (PE) and again in 1986 in Paarl.
In PE, he beat the veteran jumper Vernon Burgins of Eastern Province who came second in the long jump as well as in the triple jump and, in 1986, Abrahams beat the up-and-coming senior men’s jumpers Willem Jansen and Norman Newfeldt. Lucas Koopman, also of Western Province, was in the mix with the new jumpers.
Abrahams studied architecture at the old Peninsula Technikon in Bellville.