SA track and field stars make their mark

2013-06-05 00:00

THE South African track and field athletes are making their mark on the northern hemisphere with Sunette Viljoen throwing a world championships qualifying distance of 63 metres at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday night.

This gave her third position behind German Christina Obergfoll, the Olympic silver medallist who won with a heave of 67,70 m, which was a new meet record.

In the Oordegem meeting André Olivier pulled out his best time of the year winning the 800 m in 1:44,74, while hurdler LJ van Zyl continued to improve, this time winning the 400 m hurdles event in 49,85 seconds despite the cold and windy conditions that restricted performance levels.

Kloof-based Tanith Maxwell was out on the roads in America at the weekend, finishing 10th against a top-class field in the San Diego half marathon in a time of one hour, 16 minutes, 48 seconds — a faster time than her recent winning time in the Vienna half-marathon in April. The race was won by Ednea Kipligat in one hour, eight minutes, 56 seconds with the top four going under 70 minutes.

Bernard Koech won the men’s race in 58 minutes, 41 seconds — the fastest ever half-marathon in the U.S.

While Claude Moshiywa was the runaway winner of the 2013 Comrades Marathon, a number of other KZN runners excelled down the field. The 1995 winner Shaun Meiklejohn ran a remarkable 71st position to be the first 50- to 59-year-old to finish the race, while Mncedisi Mkhize and Melanie van Rooyen of Richards Bay were the first KZN runners to complete the 87 km distance.

Pietermaritzburg-based Phuma athletics club took the honours in the men’s 40 plus team prize with Bhekameva Xaba, Justice Nkosi, Richard Dlamini and Nkosikhona Dlamini finishing in 15th, 25th, 28th and 249th positions.

Westville Athletic Club women were once again in the veteran team awards, taking third place behind the Nedbank Gauteng North and Tuks quartets.

The senior women’s team prize went to Bonitas, spearheaded by Charné Bosman and local lass Kerry Koen, but the results are subject to the outcome of a protest from the Toyota club with regards to their first 40 plus runner, Belinda Waghorn, who was excluded from their team despite it being listed as an Open award.

There are no races this weekend, but the cross-country returns on Saturday, June 15, at Yellowwood Park.

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