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Mixed fortunes in Morocco

By Mark Etheridge

Juan van Deventer fared best of our three athletes in action at the Meeting International Moulay El Hassan in Tangiers, Morocco at the weekend.

Van Deventer and Peter van der Westhuizen were in action in the 1500-metre race while Setone did battle in the 3000m.

The 1500m was the day’s main event, fittingly because meeting director Hicham El Guerrouj has held the world record in this event for the last 12 years. On this occasion it was friend Bernard Lagat of Kenya who win for the second time at this meeting.

He clocked 3min 36.79sec ahead of Van Deventer (3:37.04) and former world champion and local athlete Yassine Bensghir (3:37.33).

Van der Westhuizen had a day to forget, trailing home in 15th and last position in 3:51.03. “Things definitely didn’t go well for me in Morroco,” said Van der Westhuizen. “I guess the food there did not agree with my stomache. I had an upset stomach for two days and just had nothing in the race. I died the last 800m and could not get my body to respond.”

Things went much better for Setone though. The 3000m race was won y Moroccan Ana Selmouni in a personal best of 7:39.01 and Setone placed eighth in 7:49.43 a person best for the Gauteng runner. It was a wopping best as well, beating his previous best of 8:00.08 set in Pretoria four years ago.

Setone was also in action in Karlstadt, Sweden last week where he took third in a 1500m race, timed at 3:39.07. Winner was American David Torrence in 3:37.73. At the same meeting our quickest hurdler last year, US based Lehann Fourie, also took third in 13.80. “It was a really bad race. I’ve been racing non-stop since January and I think it’s catching up with me.”


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