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Wayde rockets into final

Team SA sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk blitzed his way into the 200-metre final in Thursday’s 13th IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships in Moncton, Canada.

Van Niekerk flirted with the 21sec barrier in setting a career-best 21.05, the fourth fastest time in the three semi-final races and the Grey College Grade 11 pupil is now one of the world’s top eight juniors over 200m.

Van Niekerk won his heat from Canada’s Aaron Brown (21.12). Three of the athletes in the semi-finals dipped under the 21sec barrier, with Belarus runner Aliaksandr Linnik quickest with a 20.81 effort.

ÔÇ£I honestly that felt that I ran the bend better in the morning heats when I clocked 21.10 so I know what to work on ahead of Friday’s final. I drifted a bit wide on the bend in the semi-final but that shows me that if I can get it right in the final I can go under 21 seconds,” said Van Niekerk. “Moncton is at the coast but the conditions are the same for me as they are for the other sprinters, so I don’t want to get drawn into coastal vs altitude sprint discussions.

ÔÇ£Some of the world’s top sprinters were eliminated based on disqualifications during the morning heats so the race for honours in the 200 metres has opened up quite a bit.ÔÇØ

Regarding his future, van Niekerk added: ÔÇ£ I still have to complete my matric next year but I am a creative person so I would imagine I would end up studying something in the line of graphic design in the years ahead.ÔÇØ

While Justine Palframan may have been eliminated in the semi-finals of the 200 metres, she certainly did not disgrace herself in clocking a brisk 24.09 to finish sixth in her race. The 16-year-old KwaZulu Natal sprinter ÔÇô the youngest member of Team SA ÔÇô will still be eligible for the national team for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Spain and it is clear that sports runs in her and her family’s blood.

Apart from being an accomplished provincial level schools swimmer in the freestyle events, her father is the cousin of former SA Proteas and Border wicketkeeper Steve Palframan.

Meanwhile Team SA’s long jump gold medallist Luvo Manyonga wiped tears from his eyes as he stood on top of the medal podium during the playing of SA’s national anthem on Thursday evening.

Manyonga (with a winning leap of 7.99m) and Potchefstroom-based Tazmin Brits (bronze in the javelin with a throw of 54.55 metres) brought home two medals within 30 minutes of each other on Wednesday night.


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