NAIROBI, Aspiring South African athletes have excelled at the IAAF Under-18 World Athletics Championships which ended in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday with five gold, three silver and three bronze medals to record the country's best ever performance at the final such Youth Games.

The IAAF has decided that its Under-18 championships will now be held only at continental levels. The 11 medals meant that the South African yuongsters won the overalltop position in the medals standings at the Championships.

Having led the medals standings overnight, team South Africa went into the final day of the U18 World Championships with a possible five more golds but the opening events of the day yielded only disappointment.

In boys' pole-vault final, Valco Van Wyk could only manage a first round jump of 4 meters 55 centimeters before he was bumped out of medal contention by finishing 6th overall.

Jana Van Schalkwyk then followed in the women's Javelin throw, but her heave of 47.64 meters was the lowest throw of the competition as she finished last in the field.

There was further disappointment in the boys' 2,000 metres steeplechase with Robert De Villiers coming home 11th in a race dominated by the Kenyan's who took a 1-2 finish.

However, the smiles though soon to returned to Team South Africa as the duo of Tshenolo Lemao and Retshi Mlenga, who dominated the 100 m final on the opening day of competition, set the field alight once again in the 200 m sprint.

Team South Africa's sojourn to Kenya ended with yet another podium finish as they took the bronze in the final event of the Championships, the 4x400m Mixed Relay event.

With three Gold medalists in the line-up, the South Afircan's went into the race as favourites, but another gold was not to be as the team settled for third place.

Most importantly, the performance of the juniors reiterates the fact that athletics in South Africa is alive and well.