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Semenya, van Zyl, Mulaudzi for Potch

Potchefstroom Track

Potchefstroom Track

Caster Semenya will run her first 800m race of the season at the second leg of the Yellow Pages series in Potchefstroom on Saturday 24 March.

The 800m World Championships silver medallist changed coaches in 2011 and feels that has made a positive change in her athletics already. Speaking after her victory in the 400m in Bellville (at the second Yellow Pages Interprovincial) on 3 March, Semenya said, “she (Maria Mutola) has not changed much in my training program, but is really working more on my race tactics and some technique work.”

Athletes will have to reach the A-standard twice, once local and one International after 19 March The qualifying time in the 800m is 1:59.90. Semenya has run faster than that time 11 times since 2009.

Sunette Viljoen, 2011 Javelin World Championship bronze medallist has already surpassed the A-Standard Olympic Qualifying distance with an attempt of 61.42m (A-standard is 61m) at the Central North West Provincial Championships on Saturday 17 March.

Viljoen will be in action in her home province where she will be looking to continue her good form with Czech athletes Jarmila Klimesova, Irena Sediva and Eliska Klucinova also competing. Klimesova has personal best of 62.60m (2006).  Her best in 2011 is 61.12m in Ostrava where she was beaten by Viljoen. The 20 year-old Sediva is a promising young athlete who boasts 56.38m as her best.

Rorisang Rammonye from Pukke ran the 400m in Stellenbosch on Tuesday and won the race in 51.98sec, an improvement of just over 1sec (previous best 53.01sec – Germiston 25 February, 2012). Rammonya has improved at every meeting this season.  On 21 January in Pretoria she won the Tuks Championships in 53.58sec and then competed in Germiston at a meeting on 18 February where she claimed victory in 53.23sec.  At the Yellow Pages Interprovincial meeting in Germiston on 25 February Rommonya finished 2nd in 53.01sec and then on Tuesday at the first Yellow Pages meeting in Stellenbosch she won again with her time well inside the B-Qualifying standard. Rammonye is chasing a time 51.55sec as an Olympic A-Qualifier.  Athletes such as Sonja van der Merwe who also recorded a massive personal best in Stellenbosch (53.53sec), Estie Wittstock and Tjipekapora Herunga from Namibia will also feature in this race.

Charlene Potgieter, who broke the SA triple jump Record at the Yellow Pages Interprovincial in Germiston on 25 February, will compete with Patience Ntshingila in the in the women’s triple jump. Other athletes on the day will include amongst others Anuschka Nice, Mandie Brandt, Mapaseka Makhanya and the Phalula twins in the 800m with Caster Semenya; Elizna Naude in the discus  and Wenda Theron in the 400m hurdles.  Theron has also reached the B-Standard in Stellenbosch on Tuesday when she won the race in 56.25sec, but hopes to reach the A-standard of 55.50 in Potchefstroom.  “This is a big dream of mine. If the weather and circumstances are good then anything is possible,” said Theron.

400m hurdles World Championships bronze medallist, LJ van Zyl will make his first appearance this season at the second leg of the Yellow Pages meeting in Potchefstroom on 24 March as one of the big draw cards in the men’s line up.  2009 World Champion Mbualeni Mulaudzi makes his first appearance of 2012. Also racing are Simon Magakwe, Thuso Mpuang, Gideon Trotter, Leigh Julius, Roscoe Engel in the men’s 200m.

LJ van Zyl will use the flat 400m race to see whether his Olympic preparation is on track. “If I can run a good 400m then my hurdles will also go well,” said the SA 400m hurdles record holder.  Van Zyl tells that he wants to run a good ice-breaker race in Potchefstroom but that qualifying is not on the cards this Saturday.  “I will try and qualify in Pretoria, at the same track where I broke the SA Record last year.”

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi’s goal is to try and run a fast time in the men’s 800m in Potchefstroom and has called for a pacemaker to assist him with achieving this.  The A-standard qualifying time in this event is 1:45.60 and after a disappointing end to 2011 when an injury prevented him from competing at the World Championships in Daegu, another Olympic Games could be the cherry on top for the 31 year-old former Olympic silver medallist (2004).

Mulaudzi competed in the 800m only 4 times in 2011, all before July with a season best of 1:45:50 in Roma on 26 May, before injury curtailed his season.  Johan Cronje will join Mulaudzi in the 800m after a long layoff due to injury.  Cronje made appearances at the Yellow Pages Summer Series in December.  Some of the other athletes in this race will be Andre Olivier, Rynardt van Rensburg, Hannes Naude and Namibia’s Daniel Nghipandulwa.

The men’s javelin features international competition, as two Czech athletes Vitezslav Vesely (4th at 2011 World Championships in Daegu) and Jakub Vadlejeh, with personal bests of 86.45m and 84.44m respectively have entered. The duo is in Potchefstroom for a training camp with their coach, former World and Olympic Champion Jan Zelezny.  Hardus Pienaar, Africa Junior Champion Rocco van Rooyen and the SA youth Record holder and World Youth Championships silver medallist Morne Moolman (now junior), will add spice to the event.

Yellow Pages II will take place at the Puk McArthur stadium in Potchefstroom.  Tickets for Potchefstroom will be available at the gate and at various schools in the area.

Tickets on the main stands will cost R25 at the gate and R20 at schools while a ticket on the open stands will cost R15 at the gate and R10 at the schools.

Schools where tickets can be purchased are Potchefstroom Gimnasium, Volkskool and Orkney High.

The first event on the pre-program will start at 11:40 with the main program starting at 13:30 with the last event starting at 15:55.

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