16 April 2012
A number of athletes achieved Olympic qualifying standards at the Yellow Pages South African Senior Track and Field Championships in Port Elizabeth on the weekend. However, a number of big names have yet to meet the marks required for participating at London 2012.
Among those to meet the set standards were 10 000 metres runner Steven Mokoka, decathlete Willem Coertzen, 400 metres hurdler Cornel Fredericks, 100 metres sprinter Simon Magakwe and javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen. LJ van Zyl, third in the 400 metres hurdles at last year’s World Championships, had secured his place a week earlier.
Mokoka produced a superb run in the 10 000 metres to record the third fastest time ever by a South African athlete. His 27:40.73 was over four seconds inside the Olympic A-Qualifying time of 27:45.00.
Mokoka has also qualified for the marathon and will need to make a decision about which event he wishes to
“My coach and I haven’t decided yet which one I will go for,” he said in a statement. “My agent is looking to find me a few 10 000m races in Europe, and with faster athletes in the field I am sure I can go faster.”
He, however, suggested that he will contest the longer race when he told the IAAF: “I think the marathon is best”.
Coertzen improved his national record in the decathlon from 8 146 to 8 244 points, which bettered the Olympic standard by 44 points.
“I am absolutely ecstatic. I’ve worked so hard the last few years,” Coertzen said. “Ive been away from South Africa, training in London for the last five years, specifically for this.”
400 metres qualifier
Fredericks, who placed fifth in the final of the 400 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011 won the event in 48.91, comfortably below the required time of 49.50 seconds.
LJ Van Zyl
had been struggling with a leg injury since running his qualifying time last week and finished second in a slow 51 seconds flat.
Javelin star Viljoen did just enough to attain the Olympic qualifying distance, with a best throw of 61.15 metres, which was 15 centimetres over the mark of 61 metres.
Sprinter Simon Magakwe recorded the fifth fastest time yet by a South African in the 100 metres, equalling the 10.11 seconds set by Tshakile Ndzimande way back in 1988. The South African national record of 10.06 has stood since 1988 behind the name of Johan Rossouw.
It was Magakwe’s fourth successive national 100 metres title and he later did the double by winning the 200 metres.
They were not, however, the only athletes to excel.
Long jumper Zarck Visser defeated Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Khotso Mokoena with a personal best of 8.21 metres. Mokoena finished second with a best
jump of 8.13 metres. Unfortunately for both athletes, their best jumps were achieved with the wind level above the permitted one metre per second mark.
“My coach and I had been discussing it during the week,” Visser told the IAAF. “We knew I could jump around 8.20. After (the competition) Khotso said ‘Congratulations’. He didn’t know what else to say.”
World champions short of marks
Former world 800 metres champions Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya both won national titles but failed to achieve the Olympic qualifying standards.
Mbulaeni came up 0.18 seconds short of the Olympic mark of 1:45.50, winning from Andre Olivier and Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg in 1:45.68, while Semenya won the women’s title in 2:02.68.
Oscar Pistorius, who ran 45.20 in the 400 metres in March, inside the required mark of 45.30, was well off the pace this time around and had to settle for seventh place in a slow 47.28 seconds. The title went to
Lebogang Moeng in 45.75.
Moeng narrowly missed out on the 200 metres title by one-hundredth of a second. Magakwe claimed the honours in that race in 20.59 seconds.
South African steeplechase record holder Ruben Ramolefi was just outside the Olympic standard of 8:23.10, with a time of 8:24.48. He was pushed all the way to the line by Tumelo Motlagale, who finished second in 8:24.76.
In the men’s 20km walk, Lebogang Shange set the third fastest time by a South African, clocking one hour, 25 minutes and 48 seconds.
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Article source: http://www.southafrica.info/news/sport/athletics-160412.htm