Despair and hope for Team SA

2012-08-10 06:44

London – Caster Semenya powered her way into the final of the women’s 800m at the London Olympics, running her best race of the season in a time of one minute, 57.67 seconds (1:57:67).

For the majority of the season, the 20-year-old looked uncomfortable in her races but last night she sent out a clear message that she will be a contender for a podium place tomorrow.

“I am very happy to get to the finals, it was very hard but I tried my best,” Semenya said.

“I’ve done enough in training and it is just a matter of time, pump with the legs, just run. The results doesn’t matter as long as you are in the final.”

Anaso Jobodwana finished eighth in the men’s 200m final at the London Olympic Games.

The South African finished in a time of 20.69 seconds, 1.37 seconds behind winner Usain Bolt, who became the first man in history to retain the Olympic 200m title.

Jamaica completed a full-house of results, as Yohan Blake finished second, ahead of fellow countryman Warren Weir.

Meanwhile, South African javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen finished fourth in the woman’s javelin final at the London Olympic Games.

Viljoen was in second position after her first attempt of 64.53 metres, but failed to better the throw and slipped down the list as Germany’s Linda Stahl took the bronze medal (64.91 metres).

Stahl finished behind fellow German, Christina Obergfoll (65.16 metres) and the Czech Republic’s winner, Barbora Spotakova (69.55 metres).

Willem Coertzen finished ninth overall in the men’s decathlon at the London Olympic Games.

Coertzen, who holds the SA record in the event, finished on 8 173 points, 696 behind American winner Ashton Eaton.

Eaton finished ahead of fellow countryman Trey Hardee (8 671 points), while Cuba’s Leonel Suarez (8 523 points) came third.

In cycling, Sifiso Nhlapo failed to progress past the quarterfinals of the BMX racing.

A finalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Nhlapo took a cautious approach in his first three of five runs.

Nhlapo was tipped as a strong contender for a medal after he crashed out of the final four years ago and seemed to play it safe this time around.

While Nhlapo was the epitome of consistency, finishing fifth place in three of his runs and sixth in the other two, it was not good enough to secure a spot in today’s semi-final.

It was a day full of drama for Team SA after the men’s 4x400m relay team were given an automatic berth in the finals and kayak specialist Bridgitte Hartley won bronze medal in her event.

The 4x400m relay team failed to complete their heat after Ofentse Mogawane tripped during the second leg of the relay.

Shaun de Jager ran the first leg and was in fifth position when he exchanged the baton with Mogawane but when Kenya’s Vincent Mumo Kilu cut in front of him, the South African stepped on his opponent’s heel and both athletes fell.

After looking at video footage, the South African’s appealed and Kilu was found to have caused an obstruction.

“The Kenyan athlete committed an obstruction which is in rule number 163.2 of the IAAF, so we appealed, based on that rule,” the team’s manager Hezekiel Sepeng said.

According to IAAF rules, the SA team were reinstated and given an opportunity to run as the ninth team in the final.

Earlier, Hartley won South Africa’s first bronze medal at the Olympics, in the women’s kayak single K1 500m race at Eton Dorney.
Hartley crossed the line in one minute, 52.923 seconds (1:52.923).

The gold medal went to Danuta Kozak of Hungary, who finished in 1:51.456, followed a second later by Ukrainian Inna Osypenko-Radomska in 1:52.685.

South Africa now boast three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, lying in 20th position on the medals table.

More drama was to follow when Jessica Roux of South Africa dropped out of the women’s 10km open water swim on the fourth of six laps.

She had fallen well off the pace in the gruelling race at the Serpentine, a lake in Hyde Park, and then swam to the side to hold on to one of the rescue boats.

Roux was hoisted onto a safety raft and taken back to shore. She was then carted off in a wheelchair.

In the decathlon, South Africa’s Willem Coertzen won his 100m hurdles heat, in a personal best time of 14.15 seconds.

It was another personal best for the decathlete in the discus, with a throw of 43.58m.

It moved him up into the tenth spot in the overall standings but he still has three events to complete – the pole vault, javelin and 1 500m.

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