Steyn, Patience and Vester a class act

Blue Train


THEY were arguably the best three junior men’s sprinters — Craig Steyn, Shaun Vester and Teano Patience — to have graced an athletics track on South African soil (grass, cinder, clay/gravel and tartan).

Much has been written about Vester of the Grassy Park Amateur Athletics Club, but Craig Steyn of Stellenbosch was right up there with him (Main picture: Craig Steyn, left, and Shaun Vester).

Steyn was the absolute thorn in the flesh of Vester. And Vester knew it, but it didn’t slow him down, it got worse — make that faster!

For good measure, Patience of Spartans would upset the applecart in the 200m.

Patience went on to become a fabulous 400m athlete, running sub 50 seconds in the company of the powerhouse athlete Clint Cloete in the one-lap race.

Rivalry to savour

Steyn, as a sixteen-year-old, at the South African Senior Schools Sports Association (SASSSA) Track and Field Championship, won all four of his events in 10, 7 secs (100m), 21, 7 secs (200m), the long jump in 7,05m and the relay – all SASSSA records on the day in 1985, the year 15-year-old Shaun Vester burst onto the scene. Steyn ran much faster and had jumped much further in the years to come. Vester would later join the ranks of Steyn.

Theirs were to become a junior men’s rivalry to savour.

C Steyn Relay Insert
PERFECT: Teano Patience, on the inside lane, hands over to Craig Steyn in the junior men’s 4x100m relay at the 1986 SA Board Prestige Meeting in Cape Town.

They had no place to hide, the one or the other was always under starter’s orders.

You could see the blood pumping through their veins like that of stallions waiting to be let loose.

Long jump

Their duels made for fabulous, if not, breath-taking performances.

In 1988, the junior men’s mark was lowered by Shaun Vester to 10,1 secs in the 100m and 20,8 secs in the 200m. The junior men’s long jump mark was already a phenomenal 7,37m set by Craig Steyn.

If you haven’t seen them in action, be sure that you have missed out on some of the most sensational and scintillating sprinting ever seen in South Africa.

Boiling hot athletics

Craig Steyn
LEONARD JONAS, front right, completed the foursome in the 4x100m relay of Steyn, Patience and Vester.

On the other side of the apartheid divide, there were Jannie Viljoen (1987, Transvaal) and Glen Elfrink (1991, Eastern Province), but these three, Steyn, Vester and Patience, were most certainly not out of their depth – Steyn ran with speed and determination, Vester had speed he was not aware of (the most dangerous kind), Patience the strides of a Tommie Smith – boiling hot athletics!

Count in their long jump exploits of 7,37m and more, and few would bet against such fearless youngsters, certainly not in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988!

Barcelona was four years away . . . 1992.

4 thoughts on “Steyn, Patience and Vester a class act

  • November 30, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Can you please talk about youngsters that had coaches but were beaten by me and never came back. I was on the scene from 1985 till 1991 and took the last 100m title at UWC and still over the years. I never got any recognition for keeping the sprint events alive. I never had any coaching or transport to get around but I was there for the cause and, surely, you know my calibre.

    • December 11, 2015 at 7:41 am

      Hi Lodewyk. Not to worry, your story is in the queue and will be published in time. There are so many good stories to be told – please bear with us. In the meantime, if you have any old athletics pics to share, please email them to

      • February 11, 2016 at 10:17 pm

        Will send you some but where can we get the videos recorded at the meeting, will be great for a documentary.

    • May 8, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      The Publisher

      Hi Lodewyk, I salute you for your contribution you made towards Sacos sport, and not to mention your outstanding 100m performance.You were one of the athletes I couldn’t take up lightly in the 100m lineup, together with Teano and Craig Steyn.You guys really got the best out off me. I remember how you congratulated me after my 10.1 hundred metres race.


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