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Middle distance descends on Stellenbosch

Coetzenburg - Stellenbosch

Coetzenburg - Stellenbosch

With the first of the three Yellow Pages meetings taking place in Stellenbosch on Tuesday 20 March an exciting showcase may lie ahead in the distance events such as the men’s sprints, 5000m, 1500m and the 3000m steeplechase.

The men’s 5000m will include athletes such as Elroy Gelant who competed at the CAA African Cross Country Championships on Sunday 18 March, Stephen Mokoka, Gladwin Mzazi, Boy Soke, David Manja and Kgosi Tsonsane.  Mokoka, Mzazi and Gelant have made no secret of the fact that they are looking for the 13:20 A-standard Olympic Qualifying time and if weather conditions allow it then chances are very likely that it could be a possibility.

With some foreign athletes staying behind after the Cross Country event on Sunday chances of a fast time is improving dramatically as Clement Langat and William Sitonik from Kenya will compete in the men’s 5000m race.  The South African runners are looking for the Qualifying A-Standard time of 15:20 and with Kenya’s Clement Langat in the line-up, there is every reason for them to break the time. Langat has already run 13:20.09 in Yokohama on 4 December 2011, and boasts a personal of 13:15.81 Former youth athlete and 2011 World Youth Champion in the 3000m (7:40.10) William Setonik (KEN) will be making his debut in the 5000m.

Peter van der Westhuizen’s intention at the 2nd Yellow Pages Interprovincial meeting in Bellville was to initially run the 3:38.00 B-Qualifying standard for the 1500m, however the meeting was plagued by storing winds, with athletes facing by up to 5m/sec headwinds in the home straight in Bellville.  He won the race in 3:41.74.  With some foreign athletes training at Coetzenburg stadium, their presence could make a difference. Runners such as Kim Ruell from Belgium’s with a best time in 2011 of 3:40.08 will be dangerous, as will Andre Olivier from Potchefstroom  Other foreign athletes include Louis Boisseque from Mauritius and Johannes Skrywer from Namibia.

Ruben Ramolefi, the SA Record Holder in the 3000m steeplechase, Dean Brummer, Tumelo Motlagale and Edwin Molepo will line up at 19:25 on Tuesday.  Should the weather hold up, the 8:23.10 Olympic Qualifying A-standard could be on the cards.  Ramolefi ran an 8:11.50 at the World Championships in Deagu on 29 August last year.

Other events and familiar faces to look out for are the women’s 400m hurdles and flat races with athletes such as Wenda Theron, Anneri Ebersohn and Burger Lambrechts who recently competed at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey from 9-11 March in the Shot Put.

Annet Negesa from Uganda stayed behind after the Africa Cross Country Championships and could have the local athletes chasing fast times in the women’s 800m with her best recorded at 2:00.40 in Hengelo on 29 May 2011.  Mapaseka Makhanya is one of the athletes chasing 2:03-2:04 (with the A-standard set at 1:59.90 and the B-standard at 2:01.30) in this event but is yet to achieve this as she won the race in 2:06.25 at the second Yellow Pages Interprovincial in Bellville.

The gates at Coetzenburg stadium will open at 14:00 with the first event on the main program starting at 17:30.  The last event will start at 21:05. Tickets can be purchased online from, via telephone on 086 1000 291 or at the gate. Prices for tickets are R25 for adults and R15 for children.

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