Athletics: Justine Palframan breaks two-decade-old SA recordA personal best

2012-07-18 00:00

ESHOWE’S Justine Palframan may have missed the medals at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last week, but her personal best in the 400 metres broke a South African record that has stood for nearly two decades.

Of the 34 events that South Africans competed in at the championships, there were six progressions to the finals, with Gerhard de Beer winning bronze in the discus and Morne Moolman a bronze in the javelin.

But Palframan’s fifth place in the 400 m was a notable achievement as she set a new national record of 51,87 seconds to eclipse Myrtle Bothma’s 19-year-old record.

No one can expect an athlete to do better than a personal best and Palframan did just that. She came second in her heat to qualify for the second round in a time of 53,53. In the semi-final she qualified with a time of 52,65, and she then improved further in the final.

Adam Lipschitz, the only other KZN athlete, finished 14th in the 3 000 m steeplechase, finishing 20,02 seconds behind the winner in 9:16,17.

Olympic and World silver medalist Khotso Mokoena appears to be coming to form at just the right time with his third place in the Samsung Diamond league athletics held in London at the weekend.

Mokoena used a 1,7 m/s following wind to land at 8,24 metres, only four centimetres off the mark left by Australian Mitchell Watt and two centimetres adrift from Chris Tomlinson, who was competing on home ground.

Sunette Viljoen, who is a strong medal contender in the javelin for the Games, was only able to finish fourth in London with a 63,33-metre throw. Britain’s Goldie Sayers took top spot on 66,17 metres.

Team SA have a gala dinner in Sandton as part of their final send off before heading to London for the final preparation for the Olympic Games, which open in nine days time.

There are 19 KZN-based members of the team, with Tanith Maxwell the only local athletics competitor. Maxwell is the most experienced in the women’s marathon squad, which includes Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Blerk.

Maxwell was crowned KZN half-marathon champion following Savages 21 km challenge in Durban on Sunday. The 36-year-old ran a reasonable one hour 18 minutes 21 seconds in strong southerly winds. Cary-Ann Smith was second, with youngster Puseletso Dladla third. Maxwell also added victory in the 35-39 age category and the Kloof-based athlete received a surprise presentation from the KZN Athletics executive to recognise her selection to the Olympic team.

The men’s race was a tightly fought affair. The 36-year-old Luwis Masunda pushed for home at Battery Beach and was never challenged as he pulled open a nine-second gap to cross the line in one hour four minutes and 13 seconds ahead of Lungisa Mdedelwa. Jari held on for third place overall in 1:05:08, but it was Siyabonga Nkonde who secured the KZN Championship title for his fourth placed 1:05:48 finish.

Runners will need to be fast if they are to gain an entry to the first Mandela Day Marathon on August 26. The new event is a historic journey from Imbali in Edendale, where Madiba gave his last speech as a free man on March 25, 1961, past the Anglo-Boer memorial in Howick Stadium, to the site of Mandela’s capture on August 5, 1962.

Special medals with the figure of Mandela will be presented to finishers, but there will only be 466 entries available for the 42-kilometre event and 940 entries for the associated 10 km, which starts from Howick Stadium.

The 466 is reflective of Mandela’s prison number (46664) and the 940 celebrates his 94th birthday this week.

Entries open this morning at 10 am on www.mandelamarathon.co.za and will only remain open for 27 days (one day for each year Mandela was imprisoned) or until the 466 entry limit is reached.

In an innovative move, the race has also been given qualifier standard for the Two Oceans Marathon. This is a dramatic move, as in previous years Two Oceans qualification only began in October.

As a race on the KZNA and ASA calendar, the Mandela Marathon will also qualify for Comrades Marathon.

The women take control of Durban streets again this Sunday with the Totalsports Ladies’ Race at King’s Park Athletics Stadium. The five-kilometre and 10-kilometre events will follow on from the early morning triathlon with both distances starting from the Moses Mabhida Stadium area on NMR Avenue at 9:30 am. (Note the change in starting time.)

On Saturday, Queensburg Harriers host the sixth cross-country at North Park BMX track, Marlton Road. The programme will start at 11:50 am and Dean Wight at 083 630 2423 has more information.

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