Courtney Smith was elated to win six gold medals in all six events at the African Continental Track Championships in Casablanca, Morocco, last week.
The 17-year-old, who hails from Durban, won gold medals in the junior girls’ category for the scratch, points, sprint, individual pursuit and keirin races, as well as the 500-metre time-trial.
She improved a lot since last year’s event where she only won the two endurance races.
“I’m really happy and pleased with my results this time round,” Smith said. “I’ve been working really hard on my sprints and thankfully it paid off.
“These victories have given me the confidence I need for the rest of the season. I’m more motivated and I want to keep this going and achieve my next goal.”
What made her achievements more sweet, said Smith, was that she had just recovered from a virus in December.
“I suffered from a coxsackievirus from October to December. I had just recovered from that. I feel good, but I can be better. I still want to get a lot stronger.”
Smith said due to the rain delays in Morocco, she was forced to take part in four events in the last day.
“I would come off from one race, quickly warm down then warm up again for the next one. That was quite challenging.”
Smith also place third overall in the points race, where the juniors competed with the elites.
“My goal was to try and stick with the elites as much as possible,” she said. “I was specifically trying to stay with Egyptian Ebtissam Mohamed. She took part in the Rio Olympics, and I felt she was setting the pace.
“I’m glad I was able to improve on my standards and make the step up.”