Build-up could aid athletes

2013-07-31 00:00

SOUTH Africa initially selected 30 athletes to compete in next month’s World Championships in Moscow from August 10 to 18, but Olympic silver medallist Caster Semenya will not be one of them because the 800 m star failed to meet the qualifying standard in Belgium on Saturday.

Over the past month, the Tuks athlete won all three of her races and progressed in her times from 2:04 down to 2:01,86 on Saturday, a mere 0,36 seconds over the required 2:01,5 B standard that would have put her on the plane to Moscow.

These are amazing results given that the 22-year-old has been sidelined by injury since the London Olympics; one more opportunity might have made all the difference.

The South African team is one of the biggest ever sent to the championships, with a number of potential finalists but no clear medallists based on this year’s performances.

However, this has been a novel season for the athletes, as the internal disruptions in the sport have resulted in a curtailed local season and allowed the athletes to delay their build-up to the European circuit, and it is possible that this will bring the best out of them next month.

Anasa Jobodwana is undoubtedly one of the athletes who will attract the greatest interest. The 100 m and 200 m sprinter, who surprised everyone by making the 2012 Olympics final, has continued his progression this year, closing in on the SA 100 m record and recording South Africa’s first 20:00 second 200 m, albeit with a tail wind that prevented its recognition as a new record.

The U.S.-based student can certainly make the final and, partly due to the injury of Yohan Blake and the doping disqualification of a number of leading names, could find himself challenging for a podium place in the slipstream of Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt.

PC Beneke, Cornel Fredericks and LJ van Zyl give South Africa strong representation in the 400 m hurdles, but none have been outstanding lights as yet this season. Similarly, both SA champion Zark Visser and Khotso Mokoena are capable of making a mark in the long jump but do not seem to have hit their rhythm in Europe.

One of the best medal hopes lies with javelin-throwing Sunette Viljoen who earned bronze in London. Field events are notoriously unpredictable as one random, but efficient performance can deliver a medal. Viljoen, who has the South African record of 69,35 m, is certainly capable of the podium place.

Van Zyl’s wife, Irvette, is one of the recent withdrawals from the squad as a result of a knee injury, while London 110 m hurdle finalist Lehan Fourie will also no longer compete, due to an ankle injury.

• Last Saturday, Mzwakhe Khanyile won the Braai Ketts Longest Day 12-hour race in Pietermaritzburg, amassing 131,36 km around the 362 m lap at Collegians Harriers soccer grounds.

The Verulam athlete led from the gun with University runner Kennedy Nhleko initially trying to keep pace, but Khanyile burnt him off, leaving Nkosithandile Mvelase at distant second with 107,84 km after the 12-hour gun. Sibonelo Mashimane was third on 105,78 km.

Westville’s Tammy Dennil was the early leader in the women’s race, but Lizette Botha’s consistency of pace put the Run Walk for Life athlete into the lead through 80 km in 10 hours, 19 minutes. Over the final hours, Molly Parasaraman and Cordelia Kirsten kept the pressure on with the top three separated by little over two kilometres. Botha’s determination gave her victory with 91,65 km to Parasaman’s 90,1 and Kirsten’s 89,02 km.

This was the 18th running of the event, which combines with the Comrades Marathon and next month’s Capital Century 100 miler for the Triple Crown of ultra-distance running.

• More than 1 000 runners competed in a highly competitive League Seven of the KZN cross-country, held in Utrecht on Saturday. This was the first time the venue had been included in the league, but it provided by far the largest turnout of the season, and doubled as the Northern KZN championships.

This week, the league moves to the BMX track in Queensburgh for the pen­ultimate league prior to the championships held at Gelofte in Pinetown on August 10. Runners are reminded that to be eligible for selection for the SA Championships they should do two leagues plus the provincial championships. This week’s league will follow the standard programme commencing at 12 pm.

• The World Transplant Games opened in Durban this week with Hungarian Gergo Mezei the winner of the five-kilometre road race in 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Daniel Matsoso in the 30-39 age group and Zanele Britz in the 18-29 year old category were the only South Africans to feature in the medal winners. The Games continue with the track and field this week.

• The North Coast Train Race scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled, leaving the popular Merewent 10 km as the main event in the province. With only a nominal climb to the finish in the final kilometre, this fast, flat course has produced many personal bests over the years. The race commences at 7 am from the Dhubri Road grounds and Pat Pather has all the details on 073 186 3745.

WORLD TRANSPLANT GAMES

5 km road race:

King’s Park Swimming Pool, Durban

Men: 1. Gergo Mezei Hungary 17:36

2. Matthew Salkeld Great Britain 17:46

3. Montague Summers Australia 17:54

15 to 17: 1. Matthew Salkeld Great Britain 17:46

18 to 29: 1. Gergo Mezei Hungry 17:36

30 to 39: 1. Daniel Matsoso RSA 19:13

Team Prize: 1st Hungary, 2nd Spain, 3rd Australia

Ladies: 1. Orla Smyth Great Britain 22:59

2. Andrasne Jung Hungary 23:05

3. Zanele Britz RSA 23:51

18 to 29: 1. Zanele Britz RSA 23:51

20 to 39: 1. Orla Smyth Great Britain 22:59

Team Prize: 1st Great Britain, 2nd Sweden, 3rd USA.

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