Palesa Manaleng28 March 2024 | 13:16

'I'm happy with my season so far,' says budding shot put & discus star, Simoné Kruger

At the SASAPD National Championships, Simoné Kruger set a new African record, throwing an impressive 12.34m in the women’s shot put.

'I'm happy with my season so far,' says budding shot put & discus star, Simoné Kruger

Simoné Kruger competing at the 2024 SASAPD National Championships. Picture: Martin Potgieter/ SASAPD.

JOHANNESBURG – Simoné Kruger has made it a point to throw the distance at every competition. The discus and shotput athlete never leaves a competition without a record or a personal best.

At the Toyota South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships, Simoné Kruger set a new African record, throwing an impressive 12.34m in the women’s shot put.

"My performance this season in comparison to last year this time has improved exceptionally because last year this time my best performance was 34 meters and now my average in competition is 37 meters. I am happy with my season so far," said Kruger.

Talking to Eyewitness News, she said those who weren’t happy with their SASAPD performance should remember that there is still next year.

"Don’t give up. Every day cannot be your day, we are human after all. Work hard for the next championships next year, that is the best we can do."

In February, Kruger competed at the Winelands International Para-Athletics Competition, where she was the overall winner at the competition, raking up 1,091 Raza points with a discus throw of 38.05m.

*Raza points is a method in paralympic field competitions for competing throws or jumps by athletes of differing levels of disabilities.

The Winelands International is an opportunity for African para-athletes to start the competition year. It is also one of only two local platforms, the other being the Sports Association for the Physically Disabled National Championships, where para-athletes can qualify for world events such as the Para Athletics Championship in Kobe, Japan and the biggest event of the year, the Paralympic Games in Paris, France.

Simone Kruger bags ASA Sportswoman of the Year award

Simoné Kruger closes the World Para Champs with discus world record & gold medal

The athlete has matriculated and taken a year to concentrate purely on her sports and says she can already see the benefits of this decision.

"Mentally, I am more prepared for my sports season than I was last year. I sleep better than I did last year because there are no tests I have to study for. I also don’t have to wake up as early as last year. I have more time to train for competitions, so I am more mentally and physically prepared for my competitions."

The 19-year-old has already scooped two awards this year, with one of them being Influencer of the Year at the fourth edition of the Gauteng Women in Sports Awards to celebrate women in sports hosted by Futballing Girls NPO.

"I am honoured to receive such a prestigious award. I did not expect to receive such an award, so I am grateful for the recognition as the receiver of the Influencer Award. It was truly an amazing night to witness all the women in sports to be recognised for their incredible achievements and performances."

Kruger told Eyewitness News that the award was for her 2023 performance at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris.

"With my performance in Paris being such a highlight, I got invited to share my story more and more. This gave me the opportunity to start influencing people who are also hungry for success and are open to positive advice. For this, I am so grateful and will strive to leave a positive related story in many people's hearts and minds."

The then-18-year-old rewrote history at the world champs in the F38 discus event, setting a new world record with a throw of 38.1m to snatch the gold medal.

She also scooped the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability at the Athletics South Africa Awards.

The awards celebrate the country's top-performing athletes and their efforts during the 2023 season.

"This award means a lot to me because even though this is the second time they held the awards; it is the first time that they have also given para-athletes awards. It’s just amazing that they give recognition to all these talented people to recognise what they have done," said Kruger.

In the same season, she recorded two South African and two African records in two sporting codes - shot put and discus - at the Winelands International Para Athletics Competition.