Track and Field champs will see athletes chase Yellow Pages’ bonus pot of gold

2011-03-30 00:00

DURBAN spectators are in for treat when the Yellow Pages Senior Track and Field Championship come to Kings Park on April 9 and 10.

The event is a key stepping stone for athletes looking to book a place in the team to the World Athletic Championships in South Korea from August 27 to September 4, which means that the best of the best will be competing in Durban.

“We believe that Durban is an ideal venue for the championships,” said KZN president Aleck Skhosana at yesterday’s launch. “Not only is it coastal, which suits the distance athletes, but while the rest of the country is cooling down, Durban is warm, which suits the field and sprint events.”

Topping the interest will be Caster Semenya, the 2009 World 800m champion whose controversial career initiated the downfall of the previous leadership.

Semenya is rapidly getting back to form and is expected to dip under the two minutes barrier in Durban for the first time since the Berlin championships.

LJ van Zyl, who set a new 400m hurdle record of 47:66 seconds in Pretoria at the second of the Yellow Pages series will be looking to gain back the championship title from current occupant Cornel Fredericks.

Both van Zyl and Semenya tried their hands at the 400m flat in the first Interprovincial Challenge last weekend and both, despite performing outside their specialist events, put up times just short of the national records, which is a key predictor of their current form.

Adding in stars such as Elizna Naude (discus), Ruben Ramolefi (3000m steeplechase), Justine Robbeson, Sunette Viljoen and Robert Oosthuizen in the javelin and World and Olympic Silver medallist Khotso Mokoena in the long jump and there is a good foundation for top-notch performances in the championships.

Mokoena has also indicated an intention to compete in the triple jump, one of his original events, where he is tipped to take a second title.

This is the sixth and arguably the most exciting year of the Yellow Pages athletics sponsorship. One of the many innovations is a R200 000 Pot of Gold to be split among all athletes who break SA senior records in the season.

At present only Van Zyl has achieved this, but with the probability of favourable weather and a coastal venue, Durban could well see others claim a stake of that purse.

This is the 104th edition of the national senior track and field championships and while much of the focus is on the elite athletes, the Championships also provide an important rung for developing stars.

“Yellow Pages is proud to provide opportunities for our athletes to perform at and besides the host of top names,” said Lionel Smith, GM for marketing of Trudon, the publishers of Yellow Pages. “We look forward to several promising athletes causing upsets …”

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