SA Yellow Pages to be a star-studded event

2011-04-09 00:00

CASTER Semenya is sure to be a major draw card at today’s SA Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships at King’s Park in Durban.

The world 800 m Champion will use the event to improve on the 2:1,77 time she posted in Germiston for the first leg of the Yellow Pages Interprovincial Challenge. After a disappointing comeback last year that was derailed by a back injury, the 20-year-old seems to be hitting form and ran one of South Africa’s fastest ever 400 metres at Germiston.

International reports claim that Semenya will be competing in both the 800 m and 1 500 m this weekend, the distances she hopes to make her goals for the London Olympics in 2012.

If her coach allows this, the youngster faces a major challenge as the heats of the 800 m are scheduled for 10 am with the more brutal 1 500 m a mere hour later. The fact that the 800 m, 400 m and 1 500 m are crammed one after another make it almost impossible for athletes to double up in distance events. Even if athletes survive the rigours of the first round, those who make the final will have to repeat the destructive programme tomorrow where the 800 m is scheduled for 1.10 pm and the 1 500 m at 2.30 pm.

It is a star-studded cast that will be performing this weekend, beginning with the first event where Olympic and World Silver Medallist Khotso Mokoena is expected to leap his way into the long jump final, set for 2 pm. The affable lanky Mokoena will return to competition tomorrow lunchtime for the Triple Jump.

Genial giant Chris Harmse will be chasing his 16th national title in the Hammer Throw at 11.45 am and looking to secure yet another place in the team for the World Championships in South Korea in August.

At present only javelin thrower Justine Robbeson and LJ van Zyl have made the required IAAF qualification marks to be considered for the South African team, but it is expected that this weekend’s championships will see others putting their hands up for consideration.

Another potential qualifier, Elizna Naude, will wait until tomorrow mid-morning to spin the discus out in search of the required 62 metres. Having regularly thrown over 64 metres in the last two weeks of training, this should be a formality for the Tukkies athlete providing the rain keeps away affording her a dry circle.

With Rene Kalmer, the Phalula twins, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Estie Wittstock also in action, it’s sure to be an exciting weekend of athletics and today’s programme has been curtailed to 3 pm.

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