How Wayde's mom blazed the trail for her son

2016-08-15 16:27
Olympic gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk and his mother Odessa Krause (Swarts) have a similar running style. (Athletics Clipboard)

Olympic gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk and his mother Odessa Krause (Swarts) have a similar running style. (Athletics Clipboard)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Van Niekerk steals spotlight; Simbine's effort important too - S24

2016-08-15 14:45

Wayde van Niekerk's 400m gold medal and world record feat in the 400m overshadowed the following 100m event - for South Africans at least. Akani Simbine's 5th place behind the likes of Usain Bolt was still commendable, says Sport24. WATCH

Cape Town - Wednesday 26 August 2015 was a day to savour: The day South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk blew away a world-class field in the men's 400m at the World Track and Field Championships in Beijing.

While not taking the shine off him, his mother Odessa Swarts (née Krause) was an exceptional track athlete in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

His father, Wayne van Niekerk, was a high jumper at high school.

Odessa Krause's brilliant career started at Ned Doman High School in Athlone. She completed her schooling at Scottsville High in Kraaifontein, Cape Town.

During sports isolation, Odessa set Athlone Stadium on fire with her performances in the 100m and 200m. She blazed to provincial records in both the 100m and 200m on the grass track - against Cape Town's infamous South Easter.

Following her top-notch performances at the inter-schools and champ of champs meetings, Odessa ran through the Western Province (WP) schools team, clubs and South African (SA) schools and clubs, mercilessly setting records in the 100m and 200m. Only the elements and the record books were her rivals - an absolutely dominant sprinter.

By the time Odessa quit athletics, and South Africa entered democracy, she held more than six sprint records spread across high schools and clubs at both provincial and national levels.


WATCH: Wayde's parents share his story

In 1990, she held the WP senior schools record for girls under 16 in the 100m (12.41s) and 200m (25.84s) respectively. That year, Odessa equalled Maureen van der Ross' SAAAB junior ladies 100m record of 21.1s at the UWC Stadium. In the 200m, she broke Van der Ross' 200m record of 25.3s when she clocked 25.0s.

She also held the WP senior schools record for girls under-17 in the 100m (12.32s) and 200m (25.67s) in 1991 respectively.

In 1991, she held the SA schools 100m record of 12.3s, together with Qanita Nazier, Shamiela Jordan and one of the great sprint champions, Sandra Petersen.

However, Odessa was the sole record holder of the SA schools girls' under-17 200m event.

Her time was 25.3s set at the SA schools meeting held on the Paarl clay track in 1991.

For good measure, she anchored the 4x100m relay to an SA schools record of 50.1s.

Odessa was truly a talented speedster to behold – she had a real presence on the track.

Despite all her accomplishments, the young athlete was never tempted by big corporate sponsors and the prospect of competing at Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellenbosch, the track and hallowed arena of athletics in apartheid South Africa. As the country was already isolated from the international sports world, it would not have changed anything.

She has sacrificed everything, but now her son Wayde is reaping the rewards on the international stage for her and all South Africans to enjoy.

* This story was originally published on the Athletics Clipboard website It is reproduced with the permission of the author, Clement du Plessis.

Read more on:    olympics 2016  |  wayde van niekerk  |  sport  |  athletics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.