South African athletes eye Olympics
26 March 2012
South African athletes are raising their game as the London Olympics approach. In Potchefstroom on Saturday, four sprinters achieved Olympic qualifying times in the 200 metres.
Competing in the Yellow Pages meeting, Simon Magakwe, Thuso Mpuang and Lebogang Moeng attained the Olympic A qualifying-standard in the men's 200 metres, while Tsholofelo Thipe did the same in the women's race.
There was further excitement in the women's triple jump when Patience Ntshingila, competing in perfect weather conditions, bettered the South African record.
Men's 200 metres
The 200 metres men's heats set the scene for what was to come when Simon Magakwe became the first athlete to reach the Olympic qualifying A-standard time of 20.55sec by winning his heat in 20.43sec.
Thuso Mpuang, who finished second in the heat, just missed out on qualifying, clocking 20.58sec.
If the heats set the scene, then the final delivered the icing on the cake. Magakwe won the race in 20.38sec, with Mpuang and Lebogang Moeng both finishing under the 20.55sec qualifying standard. Mpuang stopped the clock in 20.50sec, while Moeng clocked 20.51sec.
Women's 200 metres
Not to be outdone, Tsholofelo Thipe shattered the A-qualifying standard of 23.10sec in the women's 200 metres and set a massive new personal best when she clocked 22.89sec in the final.
She just missed the qualifying mark in the heats, with a time of 23.11sec, just one-hundredth of a second off the required time.
Thipe's previous best time was set three years ago in Germiston when she finished second at a Yellow Pages meeting in 23.28sec.
South African record
Charmaine Barnard's South African record in the women's triple jump had been broken only recently by Charlene Potgieter, who jumped 13.61 metres on 25 February. Patience Ntshingila, however, forced Barnard into second place in Potchefstroom with a South African record leap of 13.89 metres.
Potgieter also bettered the previous record with leaps of 13.77m and 13.70m.
Rorisang Rammonye came close to the Olympic qualifying time of 51.55sec in the women's 400m, taking victory in 51.61sec, well clear of second placed Sonja van der Merwe, who clocked 53.66sec.
Sunette Viljoen led throughout the entire competition in the women's javelin throw, but Czech athlete Jarmila Klimesova's 60.96m in the final round was enough for the win. Viljoen was trying for the 61m Olympic qualifying A-standard in front of her home crowd, but had to be satisfied with 59.30m.
Former SA Youth Champion and World Youth leading javelin thrower Morne Moolman, entered the senior ranks this year and made an immediate impact by finishing third in the men's senior javelin throw, which was dominated by the two Czech athletes, Vitezslav Vesely and Jakub Vadlejeh.
Vesely won the competition with an 81.72m attempt, while Vadejeh finished second with a best throw of 80.40m. Moolman’s best effort was measured at 75.08m.
In the 800m for men, former world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi won in 1:46.41 ahead of Thapelo Madiba (1:46.92) and Daniel Nghipandulwa from Namibia, who finished in 1:48.24.
Caster Semenya, another former world champion, won the women's 800m in 2:03.60. Mapaseka Makhanya finished second in 2:04.89, with Lebo Phalula third in 2:05.58.
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