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Athletes look to qualify at SA Champs

More athletes looking to qualify at SA Senior Championships

LJ van Zyl

LJ van Zyl

With one of the Olympic Qualifying criteria being that athletes must participate at the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in order to be up for selection, the Championships in Port Elizabeth from 13-14 April will be an action packed event with South Africa’s top athletes in the line-up.

With LJ van Zyl being the only athlete who has officially qualified for the Olympic Games at the Yellow Pages Interclub meeting on Thursday, 5 April in Pretoria many others have a challenge to add their names to the list.  Van Zyl dipped under the 49.50sec qualifying mark in the 400m hurdles on Thursday, comfortably winning the race in 49.42sec.  He won the bronze medal at the World Championships on 1 September which as a medal winner, already counted as his first qualification.  The second time had to be after 19 March.

Caster Semenya (800m) and Sunette Viljoen (javelin throw) fall in the same category having won silver and bronze respectively in Daegu. Should these athletes reach the qualifying standards at the Senior Championships, they would join Van Zyl on the Olympic quest.  Semenya needs to break the 2min. mark in the 800m with the A-standard at 1:59.90 while Viljoen needs to throw 61m in order to qualify.  Viljoen already showed this year that she is capable of achieving the standard when she threw 61.41m at the ACNW provincial Championships on 17 March. She just missed the mark at the Yellow Pages Series II meeting in Potchefstroom where her best attempt was measured at 59.30m and withdrew from the Yellow Pages Interclub as a preventative measure against a minor back injury.

Lehann Fourie achieved the A-standard in Gainesville on 6 April in the 110m hurdles when he crossed the line in 13.31sec, well within the qualifying time of 13.52 sec.

The only other athletes to have set A-standard qualifying marks for London once are Simon Magakwe (100m, 200m), Thuso Mpuang (200m), Lebogang Moeng (200m), Oscar Pistorius (400m) and Tsholofelo Thipe in both the women’s 200m and 400m while many others have come close to the A-standard, but just missed the mark.  They include Willie de Beer in the 400m, both Elroy Gelant and Gladwin Mzazi in the 5000m, Ruben Ramolefi and Dean Brummer in the 3000m steeplechase and Cornel Fredericks in the 400m hurdles.  Women that that have come close to the A-standard in their respective events are Rorisang Rammonye in the 400m and Wenda Theron in the 400m hurdles.

The Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships will take place at the Xerox NMMU Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay with the first event on Friday starting at 09:15.  The last event of the day will start at 17:00. Saturday’s program will start at 06:30 with the last event at 17:25.

Tickets are available online from, via telephone on 086 1000 291 or at the gate. Tickets are priced at R25 for adults and R15 for children.

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