Athletics: Yellow Pages series

2011-05-03 00:00

THIS weekend’s 2011 Student Track and Field championships in Stellenbosch threw up some of the best results of the Yellow Pages series.

The versatile Stephen Mokoka, who runs distances from 1 500 m to cross-country to the marathon, ran the fifth fastest ever 10 000 m time by a South African.

Only Hendrik Ramaala, Xolile Yawa, Shadrack Hoff and Matthews “Loop en Val” Motshawarateu have bettered his time of 27 minutes 56,18 seconds. Unfortunately, this only secures Mokoka a B qualification to the world championships, but this might still be worth Athletics South Africa considering that the opportunity to race at that level on the track could well be exactly the way to pull a few more seconds from his time.

The fact that 28 minutes is the B standard for qualification and so few South African runners have achieved this or faster is a clear indication of why the country’s distance runners are no longer a force to be considered in the world of half and full marathons.

Caster Semenya won the 1 500 m women’s race with ease, completely controlling proceedings from the gun and won her first title in 4:22,64. The close finish times between first, second and third are deceptive, as Semenya was never under threat. Later in the afternoon she made it two from two with a win in the 400 m, defeating the specialist 400 m hurdler Wenda Theron. Semenya raced to perfection after Theron set the early pace, leading through 200 m.

In the final 120 m Semeya surged, and although Theron tried valiantly to hold on, Semenya won her second gold medal in 53,18 seconds.

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