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Simon wins, Juan impresses

By Mark Etheridge

There were mixed fortunes for South African athletes around the world in the last few days and on the face of it Simon Magakwe and Juan van Deventer will probably be happiest with their form.

The South African 100-metre champion had a win and a second place at the Atletski Miting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. First he ran second in the 100m, clocking 10.26sec behind winner Marvin Anderson of Jamaica (10.21). Then he won the final race of the evening, the men’s 200m in 20.73, beating Nigeria’s Peter Emelieze (21.19).

Van Deventer, has shown fine form this season and continued to do so in Rieti, Italy where he ran a season’s best 3min 34.52 for the men’s 1500m in a race won by Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop (3:31.78).

That’s not far off the 3:34.30 personal best he ran in New York last year and Van Deventer will be hoping the selectors of the Commonwealth team for India later this year were taking notice. None of our top three 1500m athletes made the cut, Johan Cronje and Peter van der Westhuizen also missing out.

Cronje was a disappointed man after pacemaking duties in Brussels last week, saying it was difficult to find motivation for the rest of the season without something like a Commonwealth Games to aim for.

Like Magakwe he was also in action in Slovenia where he ran the 800m and ended second behind world junior champion David Mutua of Kenya. Mutua clocked 1:50.08 to Cronje’s 1:50.11.

One of our stars who must be getting just a bit worried with his form is Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion LJ Van Zyl. Van Zyl was in action in Zagreb on Wednesday night but could only make third place with a time of 50.29. Winner was American Justin Gaymon in 49.19 with Belgium’s Michael Bultheel second in 49.77. Van Zyl, who is in the Commonwealth team, has now failed to break 50sec for the second time in a period of three weeks.

Normally one of the strongest finishers in the one-lap hurdles, Van Zyl has battled to find the extra zip in the final stages and will no doubt be working hard at rectifying this quickly.


6 comments
Road Mogul
Road Mogul

Dont forget the marathon athletes and middle distance athletes. Juan can possibly break the SA record in the1500, but he is not taken seriously

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Agree with Track fan but no need to shoot South African athletes down. We must stand together.

Track Queen
Track Queen

Lets be fair to the athletes and not lose sight of the problem. The problem here is not only that the rankigs mean very little but that the athletes have been pushed to compete in Feb-April then pushed again in the window period, then African Champs then some went back to Europe and the signs of fatigue are setting in on some of the athletes. Some facts - A number of the athletes in the SASCOC team were carrying injuries at the AFrican Champs. We wish them a speedy recovery. They are part of our athletics family don't shoot them down. Caster has had to sit out and watch and without any competition it is hard to stay focussed. She hasn't raced in almost a year and must now pick up the pieces so if she has one or two setbacks lets support her instead of shooting her down because this is the same thing that we are fighting for for the rest of the athletes. we are fighting for opportunities not exclusions. LJ as well. He has had a rough season and with a 50.29 finished 3rd so if we want to make a case talk about how our other 400m hurdler could have possibly featured well with his PB of 48.7 or so rather than destroying LJ. LJ and Cornel are medal potentials for 2012. When LJ was a junior ASA took him along to major international teams which helped him mature and get his times down. Cornel and LJ together can get down to 47 and one or both could medal in 2012 so take both don't dicard one for the other when they are both top performers. There are many other examples. We don't feature in the sprints but in 2006 Geraldine Pillay came from nowhere to get two medals for SA. She was given the opportuinity to shine and she took it. An athlete becomes a passenger when they constanly underprform and in it is easy to find them out. SASCOC and ASA needs to polish their diamonds or else they will be polished by other spoting codes like Rugby, Soccer, Netball who have just got a new sponsorship and Hockey. Gideon said athletes have failed to inspire others like Okert Britz. He is wrong because if Pole vault was dead then why is there a Chane Rahme in the team. Give the kids a chance to compete and if they constantly fail then you can judge them. Caster, LJ and eeryone going to the Commonwealth we wish you well. You are one of us. We are 100% behind our athletes and we hope that you open doors for the rest.

Track fan
Track fan

Rankings means nothing. Who showed it more clear than Gideons favorite athelete,Caster. Ninth in her last race running slower and slower. Other atheletes running faster and faster are ignored.

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Or will you just cut him out as a result and not give him the chance. He could pick up the pieces especiallly with the Games about 6to7 weeks from now. Let's wait and see how this one is handled...

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

World rankings mean absolutely nothing SASCOC. At least van Zyl is competing to build-up to the Commonwealth - how will you know about the form of the rest????