BY KERSTIN LEE
Miré Reinstorf, a first-year BCom (Actuarial Science) student, continues to reach new heights with her second record-breaking jump at the World Athletics u. 20 Championships in Kenya on 18 August. This makes her the first South African to win a gold medal at this event.
When Reinstorf was faced with the initial jump of 4,15 m, her nerves were threatening to get the better of her. She had to keep a level head and prepare for the moment.
“I kept focusing and just replaying the jump in my head so I could perfect it in real life,” she recalled, and when she launched over the bar, her initial feeling was relief at having surpassed it.
Although she had beat her own personal best of 4,12 m, she knew she could go higher, saying, “My personal best increased by 3 cm and it’s not a lot… I know I can go a lot higher”.
It is this internal drive that Reinstorf has honed that sets her apart. She was faced with one last jump of 4,20 m, and with only her and French competitor, Elise Russis, left in the competition, she had a real chance of taking home the gold.
Reinstorf did not clear this jump, but neither did her competitor. The position of gold thus had to be determined by the number of attempts it took to clear their previous jumps (known as the countback rule). At this point, she said she was not sure where she stood in terms of her position. It was not until her coach, Jean-Paul van As, hugged her that she realised that she had conquered the event and would be taking home the gold.
“It wasn’t such an awesome, overwhelming feeling because it didn’t sink in right then,” she recollected. The French pole vault coach handed her the South African flag, and a deep sense of pride filled her as she settled it around her shoulders.
“Holding the flag around me was… such an amazing feeling,” she said.
“I was really proud to represent my country… especially when we got our medals and they played the national anthem… I just thought… ‘I’m really proud to represent them and compete for them,’ and it was such an honour just winning for them.”
She hopes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and the Senior World Championships in 2023, but her ultimate goal is the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. “When I was at school, I never really thought about the Olympics,” she said — it was something for other people, other pro athletes. But after competing at the World Athletics, it has become a goal that is well within her sights. With her dedication, hard work and humility, Reinstorf will continue to reach for the sky.