Coertzen sets new African record, Jobodwana second in 100?m

2013-08-12 00:00

THE South African highlight of the first weekend of the World Athletics Championships came from decathlete Willem Coertzen, who set a new African record of 8 343.

Coertzen finished ninth behind Olympic champion Ashton Eaton, who scored a world-leading 8 809 points, with both second placed Michael Schrader (8 670) and bronze medallist Canadian Damian Warner (8 512) setting personal bests.

Eaton scored over 1 000 points in three events, while Coertzen made significant improvements in both the 400 m and the javelin, where his 69,35 m now equals that of SA women’s javelin champion Sunette Viljoen.

He also equalled his 2,05 m best in the high jump in what was an exciting and highly competitive two days.

“The quality of the field has improved, this is the best quality at world champs ever,” said the Potchefstroom-based athlete.

“At the Olympics, I scored 8 173 for ninth, now I score almost 300 points more for the same position.

“The best thing of all is that it’s a clean one. The previous one [8 224] was contentious, as the Algerian who held one at 8 342 tested positive last year, then going back there was one on 8 308, but now it’s clean and clear,” continued Coertzen.

Up-and-coming sprint star Anaso Jobodwana had South Africans on the edge of their seats over the weekend following his first-round performance where, after a slow start, he surged through the finish second to World record holder Usain Bolt in 10,17 seconds.

Given his training focus for the previous three weeks had been on starts, everything pointed to the potential of a sub 10-second performance yesterday evening. However, he failed to progress to the semi-finals.

“I’ve got no excuses, I ran a bad race,” said the devastated youngster, who felt his first start had been smoother and probably better.

“My start wasn’t good and from there it was trying to play catch up. … I’m very disappointed. I just have to go back and get it up for the 200,” continued South Africa’s brightest hope in sprinting.

However, competing in the 100 m meant mainly to build towards the 200 m.

The 20-year-old was a finalist in the Olympic 200 m and has a stronger chance in the half lap that commences on Wednesday morning.

The immediate challenge for the youngster is to put to bed the disappointment of the 100 m, which clearly had him holding his emotions at bay, and to reset the perspective to what can be achieved for Wednesday’s first round.

Bolt went on to regain the World Championship title in the rain with a 9,77 seconds coming from behind to take Justin Gatlin by 0,08 seconds with countryman Kemar Bailey-Cole third in 9,95.

The South African action continues this morning at 7.40 am with Victor Hogan in the discus, who qualified as the African champion.

He will be followed at 9.05 am by Olympians LJ van Zyl, and Cornel Fredericks in the 400 m hurdles. Van Zyl is the defending bronze medallist, while Fredericks is the form athlete, who finished fifth in Daegu, but crashed out of the Olympics. He should make it through to the final this time round.

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