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Semenya Qualifies for London

Caster Semenya Qualifies for London

Caster Semenya Qualifies for London

20 April – Caster Semenya became the fifth track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games after dipping under the 2 minute required in the women’s 800m at Yellow Pages III in Pretoria.

After winning the National Championships in Port Elizabeth,14 April in 2:02.68 the Gauteng North athlete broke the 2min barrier for the first time on South African soil and claimed victory in 1:59.60, just faster than the 1:59.90 required to qualify.  The 2009 World Champion and 2011 silver medallist reached the standard for the first time at the World Championships in Daegu and had to do another qualifier locally as as per the agreement between SASCOC and Athletics South Africa.

Semenya had the advantage of her home track as well as Namibian athlete Tjipekapora Herunga as pacemaker.  Monique Stander (Monnas) finished second in 2:02.57 while Mapaseka Makhanya running with tonsillitis crossed the line in 2:04.77.

Semenya now joins LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles), Sunette Viljoen (javelin throw) and Willem Coertzen (Decathlon) on the list of Olympic Qualifiers.

Khotso Mokoena (Tuks) opened his long jump with a flight of 8.29m in perfect conditions at the ABSA Tuks stadium, 9 centimetres further than the Olympic A-standard.  Mokoena was unlucky in windy conditions last week in Port Elizabeth as he struggled with his run up and produced a best of 8.13m with the assistance of a strong backwind.  Now Mokoena needs to jump 8.20m again at an international meeting in order to add his name to the Olympic list.  Teammate Mpho Maputha finished 2nd with an opening jump of 7.68m while Francois Coetzee, also from Tuks, came 3rd (7.20m).

The 800m athlete Mbulaeni Mulaudzi suffered the same fate as a week ago in Port Elizabeth, coming close to the 1:45.60 qualifying time, but again running just off the pace, winning the race in 1:46.12. The junior Thapelo Madiba finished second in 1:47.91 with Daniel Nghipandula crossing the line shortly after in 1:48.15.

Wenda Theron is still looking for the elusive 55.50sec in the women’s 400m hurdles as she finished her race in 56.05sec.  The 23 year-old Tukkie clocked a personal best time of 55.79sec at the SA Championships in Port Elizabeth on 14 April, but tonight again missed the time.  Janet Lawless (Maties) and Anneri Ebersohn (Tuks), finished shortly after Theron, their times 57.29sec and 58.25sec respectively.

The next event on the calendar will be the SA Student Championships in Johannesburg from 27-28 April followed by the SA Open Championships at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria on 4 and 5 May.

Monique Stander breaks 25-year old youth record
Amongst the celebrations of Caster Semenya booking her berth in London, 17 year-old Monique Stander’s performance in the 800m at the Yellow Pages III meeting in Pretoria on 20 April, went unnoticed. Stander crossed the line in 2:02.57 to break the 2:02.71 clocking of Corne Viljoen back in 1987.

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