Van Deventer sets SA record

2008-07-22 22:02

Johannesburg - Juan van Deventer, South Africa's new middle distance star who will run in the 1 500ms at the Olympic Games, has set his first SA record at the DN Galan Grand Prix athletics meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday evening.

Running in the 3 000m, he came in sixth stopping the clock in 7 min 41.06 sec, passing the times of two of South Africa's greatest middle distance runners, Johan Fourie and Sydney Maree.

The previous record of 7 min 44.00 sec belonged to Fourie since 1985 while Maree clocked a 7 min 43.00 sec six years earlier (1979) in the United States that was never applied for as a SA record.

The tall 23-year-old Van Deventer, with two Olympic qualifying times of 3 min 34.46 sec and 3:35.20 in Europe recently - as well as a fast one mile time of 3 min 51.13 sec - continues to impress against the world elite.

His time of 3:35.20 was achieved only two nights ago in Heusden, Belgium and if he can continue in this form, he will almost certainly be in the Beijing 1 500 final.

Van Deventer, coached by Gerrie Coetzee, is a member of the University of Johannesburg Athletics Club.

It was only the third 3 000m of his senior career and he shattered his own personal best of 8 min 10.18 sec in 2005 by almost 30 sec. He stayed with the leading bunch of about ten runners for most of the race and finished strongly less than four seconds behind the Australian, Craig Mottram, who won easily in 7 min 37.73 sec. from Isaac Kiprono Songok of Kenya (7:38.97).