Shanghai setback for Peter | SASCOC - SASCOC

Shanghai setback for Peter

By Mark Etheridge

South African participation in Sunday’s second IAAF Diamond League track and field meeting has been halved with the news that Peter van der Westhuizen has had to withdraw due to visa complications.

Van der Westhuizen, 25, was due to run the 1500-metre event in Shanghai, China. That leaves just Potchefstroom’s Ulrich Damon as our sole representative in the javelin event.

Speaking from Hong Kong, Van der Westhuizen said: “I’m in Hong Kong right now (Friday) and am unable to get a visa to enter China as it’s a public holiday here today and the visa offices are closed.

“So I won’t be competing on Sunday. But as far as the next couple of weeks are concerned I’ll be competing in the mile in Oslo, Norway and then a 1500m in New Yorkand hope to compete well there.”

Van der Westhuizen, who graduated from the University of Nebraska and is still based in the states, has shown good early-season form.

“Training has been going very well. I ran in Ponce, Puerto Rico two weeks ago and won a small meeting there in 3min 38.7sec. But my main goal for the season is to break the SA record in the 1,500m and I’m going to have to improve my best time of 3:35.33 by two seconds to do so!”

The current mark belongs to Johan Landsman and stands at 3:33.56, set in Zurich 17 years ago.

“Apart from that I’d like to medal at the Commonwealth Games as well as at the All African champs. Further ahead I want to make the final and medal at the next IAAF World Championships and the Olympics in London, 2012. These are very high goals but that is what I use as motivation”