SA athletes chase Olympic places
11 April 2012
South Africa's track and field athletes have to compete in the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth this week to be considered for selection for the London Olympics. Expect a top-quality, action-packed competition!
The most recent qualifying standard was achieved by 400 metres hurdler LJ van Zyl at the Yellow Pages Interclub meeting on Thursday, 5 April, in Pretoria. He clocked 49.42 seconds to dip under the qualifying mark of 49.50 seconds.
World Championships medallist
Last year, Van Zyl won bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. As a medal winner, that result already counted as achieving a first qualifying standard. However, he had to achieve the qualifying standard after 19 March too.
Caster Semenya (800m) and Sunette Viljoen (javelin throw) fall in the same category as Van Zyl, having won silver and bronze respectively in Daegu. Should they reach the qualifying standards at the Senior Championships, they would join Van Zyl at the Olympics.
Semenya needs to break the two-minute mark in the 800m, with the A-standard set at 1:59.90, while Viljoen needs to throw 61m in order to qualify. She has already bettered that mark this year, registering 61.41m at the North West Provincial Championships on 17 March.
Lehann Fourie achieved the A-standard in Gainesville, Florida, on 6 April in the 110m hurdles when he crossed the line in 13.31sec, well within the qualifying time of 13.52 sec.
A number of other athletes have recorded A-standard qualifying marks at least once. They include three men in the 200 metres, namely Lebogang Moeng, Thuso Mpuang, and Simon Magakwe, who has also achieved the qualifying standard in the 100 metres.
In March, Oscar Pistorius ran 45.20sec at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships to better the required mark of 45.30. He was part of the South African 4x400m relay team that won silver at the World Championships last year.
Tsholofelo Thipe has met the required standard in the women's 200 metres.
A number of athletes have narrowly missed the set standards, including Willie de Beer in the 400m, Elroy Gelant and Gladwin Mzazi in the 5000m, Ruben Ramolefi and Dean Brummer in the 3000m steeplechase and Cornel Fredericks in the 400m hurdles.
Women that that have come close to the A-standard in their respective events are Rorisang Rammonye in the 400m and Wenda Theron in the 400m hurdles.
The Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships takes place at the Xerox Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Nelson Mandela Bay. The first event starts at 09:15 on Friday. The last event of the day will start at 17:00. Saturday's programme begins at 06:30, with the last event at 17:25.
Tickets are available online from itickets.co.za, via telephone on 086 1000 291, or at the gate. They cost R25 for adults and R15 for children.
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