SA’s Fredericks survives 400?m first round as discus thrower ‘Hulk’ qualifies for final after nervous wait

2013-08-13 00:00

CORNEL Fredericks was the sole survivor of South Africa’s trio competing in yesterday morning’s first round of 400 m hurdles at the World championships in Moscow.

Fredericks ran 49,6 in the first heat to place fourth behind Michael Tinsley, who recorded 49,07, the fastest time of the day.

The 23-year-old, who ran the 12th best time in the heats, will have to carve about a second from that time if he is to make the final.

“It was a hard race. I knew I had to run fast, did my best, so I’m in the semi-final now,” said Fredericks, who was fifth in the 2011 World championship in Daegu.

“At the moment I’m feeling comfortable, but its going to be a tough semi-final, I’ll give my all in the semi — I’m just going to go out and do my best — I will step up!”

Fortunes were not as favourable for Daegu bronze medallist LJ van Zyl, who ran a 50,05 fifth in the second heat, leaving his fate to the results of the other heats.

“If I get a second chance I’ll take it with both hands, but if not I’ve tried … I gave it my best,” said Van Zyl.

“I was always the guy with the kick at the end. Now it’s not there. My last 60 metres was terrible, I shuffled at the ninth hurdle.”

The Tuks athlete, who is in his fifth world championships, anxiously awaited the outcome of the final heat that saw Brazilian Mahau Suguimati clock 50 seconds dead and relegated the 28-year-old South African out by 0,03 seconds behind Russian Dennis Kudryavtsev, who placed fifth in the third heat.

PC Beneke, who debuted at the championships, finished seventh in his heat in 51,14, but gained considerably by the step up to the senior level.

“I’m very positive. This was about experience and working to next year’s Commonwealth games. It’s been a long season,” said Beneke.

Annari Ebersohn was knocked out of her debut world championships, finishing seventh in her heat in 57,9 seconds well off her best of 55,87 set this year.

After a sleepless night, discus thrower Victor “Hulk” Hogan was also left apprehensively awaiting the outcome of the Group B qualifiers.

The 24-year-old was awaiting the start gun of the 400 m hurdles before commencing his first attempt, but ran out of his allocated minute, resulting in a no throw.

His second throw spun the discus to 62,45 metres, which eventually saw him progress to the final as the last of the 12 qualifiers.

“I only slept about two hours last night from the stress, this was a big deal for me, I wanted to do good, but I didn’t,” said Hogan.

“On my first throw I wasted my minute waiting for the hurdles, the second got my 62,45, but only 61,59 with my third, I’m sixth now so it’s on the other group results.”

Only Poland’s Piotr Malachowski made the automatic qualifying mark of 65 m in Group B, giving Hogan the required gap to progress as the 12th qualifier to today’s final.

Other than Cornel Fredericks’s 400 m hurdle semi-final (5.40 pm SA time), the South African focus today lies with Elroy Galant, who goes in the first heat of the 5 000 m at 8.20 am (SA time).

Despite being SA’s second fastest runner ever over the 12-and-a-half laps, he has the fifth slowest personal best of his heat.

It has been a good season for the 26-year-old, who has brought his time down considerably since making his championship debut in Daegu in 2011. Certainly if the weather plays along, the field in the Moscow Olympic stadium will be of the correct calibre to keep him on schedule.

While medals are the optimum ambition of any athlete, the chance of achieving a better time in the final of the 5 000 m is reduced given the short recovery time for those who are stretched to make the final.

Britain’s Mo Farah, who now owns the World Champion and Olympic title at 10 000 m, will be looking for the rare double and goes in the second heat today, with the final scheduled for Friday evening (6.45 pm SA time)

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