Viljoen, Mokoka defend titles at SA Seniors

2013-04-13 09:10

London 2012 Olympic Games finalists Sunette Viljoen and Stephen Mokoka led a few individuals who successfully defended their titles in their respective events on day one of the SA Senior Championships at Coetzenburg Stadium.

Others who defended their crowns at the national track and field meet in Stellenbosch yesterday were sprinter Simon Magakwe (100m), Mapaseka Makhanya (1 500m), Mpho Mabuza (10 000m) and Robert Oosthuizen (javelin).

Viljoen posted four throws over the 61m-mark and won her event with a distance of 61.87m.

On the track, Magakwe clocked 10.45, Makhanya (4:16.08) and Mabuza (34:31.28).

Ran under favourable conditions in the Western Cape winelands district town, 18 finals were contested on the opening day with another full day remaining today.

Conspicuous by her absence was Caster Semenya who just got back to serious training after a long break.

Meanwhile, on the track, it was also a day of the crowning of the new champions with Edwin Molepo (8:33.06) of Central Gauteng taking the 3 000m steeplechase from undisputed champ Ruben Ramolefi who was not at the meet.

Ramolefi said he didn’t prepare well for the championships and worse, his province, Northern Cape, did not send a team citing financial difficulties.

Also absent was Mbulaeni Mulaudzi who will relinquish his 800m title – possibly to London Olympics semifinalist Andre Olivier – when the final is run today.

With the boardroom squabbles at Athletics South Africa still at the back of the mind, the championships gave athletics enthusiasts something to cheer about even in the absence of spectacular times.

Fan favourite Magakwe won his fifth straight title with a slower 10.45 compared with the 10.11 he ran last season.

He promised his followers that he would improve at the University Championships here in Stellenbosch on Monday.

Similarly, Mokoka wooed the crowds in Port Elizabeth last season with a breathtaking 27.40 – currently third on the local all-time list – which is faster than the 28.22.30 that closed the programme today.

The SA Champs is used as a qualifier for the IAAF World Championships later this year.

The global track and field meet runs in Moscow, Russia from August 10 to 18.

» Read City Press on Sunday for the wrap of the SA Champs.

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