Whaddon Niewoudt shines in Japan

2000-11-24 16:24

Pretoria - Whaddon Niewoudt, South African record holder in the 3 000 metres steeplechase who has been running well in road events in recent months, was one of the best performers of the South African team that finished second in the prestigious annual Chiba Ekiden marathon relay in Japan on Thursday.

He clocked the fastest time over the second 10km leg of the race by covering the distance in 28 min 41 sec.

For the third year running, Japan took top honours by winning with a comfortable margin of 1 min 41 sec over the South Africa quintet, who in turn, finished 1 min 39 sec. ahead of the Australians.

The SA team, which was selected out of Niewoudt, Josiah Bembe, Vincent Kutoane, Eric Biyase, Enoch Skosana and the Japanese based Tsunaki Kalamore, did very well to defeat countries like Kenya, Australia, Russia, Great Britain and USA, to mention only a few of the 18 competing nations.

Result: 1 Japan 1:59:47, 2 South Africa 2:01:28, 3 Australia 2:03:07, 4 Kenya 2:03:48, 5 UK 2:03:49, 6 Russia 2:04:19, 7 Denmark 2:04:22, 8 Canada 2:04:32.

The following fastest stages times were recorded during the event contested over the marathon distance of 42.195km: First stage (10km) - Koichiro Nagata JPN 27:40, Second stage (5km) - Michael Power AUS 13:33; Third stage (10km) - Whaddon Niewoudt RSA 28:41; Fourth stage (5km) - Craig Mottram AUS 14:04; Fifth stage (12,195km) - Ken-ichi Takahashi (JPN) 35:13.

South Africa, who won the event once before, also finished second in the 1999 edition of the race.

The times of the other South African athletes and their positions in their different legs were as follows: First stage - Enoch Skosana (4th in 28 min 14 sec,); Second stage - Tsunaki Kalamore (5th in 14:08); Fourth stage - Eric Biyase (5th in 14:15); and Josiah Bembe (2nd in 36:10).