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More medals for SA

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa added another three medals in the final stages of Friday’s programme at the 17th African Athletics Championships in Nairobi.

After Elizna Naude had defended her discus title with a final throw of 56.74 metres, it was the turn of 400m hurdlers LJ Van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks and the men’s 4x100m relay team to come to the party.

And they did so with some gusto, Van Zyl winning in a season’s best of 48.51sec and Fredericks following him home in 48.79, a huge personal best by 0.20sec on his last competition in Finland earlier this month. Bronze went to Senegal’s Mamadou Kasse Hanne in 49.10sec.

South Africa now have five golds, two silvers and three bronze and are locked in a fierce fight at the top of the medals table with hosts Kenya.

Our 100m bronze medallist and 2009 national champion Simon Magakwe spearheaded Team SA to victory and the defence of the 4x100m title when they won in 39.12sec. West African nations Nigeria and Ghana were second and third respectively in 39.22 and 39.31.

Speaking after her discus victory a relieved Naude said: “It was almost a bid disaster. I’ve been struggling with an adductor niggle so have been very stressed the last few weeks. It was sore yesterday and my mind started playing tricks.”

“It was a great competition, very close but I’m glad that I have a bit of BMT (Big Match Temperament) as well. I simply refuse to lose in Africa against my fellow African athletes if I can help it. Now I’ll go to Switzerland next week and just enjoy the competition and then it’s back to the drawing board for the World Cup and the big finale, the Commonwealth Games in October.”


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