Ferdies’ champion athlete has Olympic dreams

Jeanré van Antwerpen during the 2017 Biathle/Triathle World Championships in Viveiro, Spain. Photo: Chelma Sliep
Jeanré van Antwerpen during the 2017 Biathle/Triathle World Championships in Viveiro, Spain. Photo: Chelma Sliep

Sport oozes through the mind, body and spirit of the talented Potchefstroom athlete, Jeanré van Antwerpen (18), who has a plethora of accolades to his name in both national and international multisport competitions.
Van Antwerpen represented South Africa internationally at the 2016 and 2017 Biathle/Triathle World Championships and the Africa Continental Youth Olympic Qualifier in Lagos, Nigeria. Here, he just missed out on a place in the SA Youth Olympics squad. He was also selected for the Tetrathlon World Champions in Portugal this year but missed the event due to injury.

This year, Van Antwerpen has truly dominated in the various multisport categories on a provincial level too. This includes triathlon (swimming, cycling, running), triathle (shooting, running, swimming), biathle (running, swimming, running) duathlon (running, cycling, running) and tetrathlon (shooting, running, fencing and swimming). He has taken numerous first places and has become the SA champion in tetrathlon to name a few of his glittering achievements.
This well-travelled, decorated matric learner at Ferdinand Postma was first introduced to the sport at the age of five, having been inspired by his grandmother, Agnes Griessel, who is also a keen multi-sport athlete.

‘I went to the events that my grandmother competed in and I decided to also take part in them. Since then, I’ve enjoyed it immensely and done really well – she has been a huge inspiration.
‘In 2014 and 2015, I took part in the Biathle World Tour in Dubai and took second place. It was there that I realised that I really had a talent for the sport. That was really awesome,’ he added.

‘My best experience was the Africa Continental Youth Olympic Qualifier in Nigeria last year. I came second in the laser run event and fourth in tetrathlon. I needed to win both events to be able to compete in the Olympics, so I just missed out,’ he explained.
His steady rise over the past three years can be attributed to hard work, good genes and a determination to always give his best – no matter what.

‘You have to believe in yourself and give it your all. It is definitely hard work and, when I like something, I want to do well in it. It is part of my competitive spirit. One of the best parts of competing is to see my parents and family’s smiling faces. By achieving, I can say thanks for all the effort they have put in, too,’ he added joyfully.

‘I enjoy tetrathlon the most. It is a combination of swimming, fencing and laser running – a combination of shooting targets and running 4 x 800 metres,’ he added.
Besides competing in multisport events, he also takes a keen interest in cricket, tennis, athletics, cross-country and swimming. This truly establishes Van Antwerpen as a sports star of note.

His jam-packed schedule is loaded with sport on a weekly basis and, through hard work and determination, he has made the most of the talent he has been given.
‘I will go and train before school starts. After school, I will take an hour’s break and then go train again. I swim at Potchefstroom Swimming Club, train fencing at the NWU and run with Tri Squad under my coach, Dawie Janse van Rensburg,’ says the man who is sponsored by NTT Volkswagen Potchefstroom. According to Van Antwerpen, Spain is the best country he has visited as part of his international racing. He competed in the small town of Viveiro at the 2017 Biathle/Triathle World Championships and still holds fond memories of the experience.
‘My favourite soccer team is FC Barcelona. I bought tickets to a La Liga match against Las Palmas but, unfortunately, that match was played behind closed doors. It was heart-breaking but I managed to watch the recent Sundowns and Barcelona match at FNB Stadium this year, which was brilliant,’ he said.

This Potchefstroom resident is no spring chicken when it comes to representing his country all around the world and he now harbours Olympic dreams in the near future.

‘Any athlete’s dream is to compete in the Olympics and this will be my main goal going forward in the sport of modern pentathlon.’

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  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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