Mpuang makes his mark | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mpuang makes his mark

He may have left it till late in the season, but Thuso Mpuang booked his ticket to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, when he won the Yellow Pages SA Student Championships 200-metre title in a season’s best of 20.56sec in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

Mpuang was beaten to first place at the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in Ethekwini Durban two weeks ago and had to see how junior Wade van Niekerk not only won the title, but also booked his place to the World Championships. Manfred Seidler writes that now both Mpuang and Van Niekerk are in the 200m team and the prospects of a strong 4x100m relay at the World Championships is looking better and better.

Simon Magakwe’s 10.18sec in the semi-finals at the national championships as well as Roscoe Engel’s 10.19sec and Hannes Dreyer’s 10.17 (albeit wind assisted) at the Yellow Pages Interprovincial in Germiston on 26 March have given South Africa a competitive 4x100m relay team again.

UJ’s (University of Johannesburg) Tshamano Setone was in a class of his own in the men’s 5000m. Setone, who also successfully defended his SA 5000m title in Durban two weeks ago, almost did not make the start line as there was a mix-up with his entry. Luckily his team management were able to clear matters up and he duly found himself on the start line.

Chasing a time of 13:20 for an IAAF A-Qualifier for the World Championships (or 13:27:00 for a B-Qualifier), Setone enlisted the aid of Pharson Magagane and Steven Mokoka to pace him. Magagane had won the men’s 1500m on Friday and Mokoka had set the fifth fastest time ever in South Africa in the 10 000m (also on Friday).

Mokoka and Setone upped the pace with half way to go, with Magagane continuing, but falling off the pace. Mokoka pulled out with 1000m left and Setone was left to do the rest on his own. With one lap to go Setone needed exactly 60 seconds to finish in 13:27:00. Unlike Mokoka who produced a 56sec last lap in his 10 000m, Setone faded and finished with 63sec last lap to cross the line 13:30.59 –┬á still a season’s best for the 23 year-old technician from Transnet.

Setone leaves for Brazil where he will race in two 5000m races on 11 and 15 May, before heading off to Dakar for a 3000m and Rabat after that for another 5000m.

Caster Semenya showed she meant business as she set a fast pace in the women’s 800m final. Showing real determination and fighting spirit Juanee Cilliers and Mandi Brandt tried hard to stay with her. In the end Semenya was once again too strong and finished the domestic season undefeated with a 2:02.52. In the sprint for silver, Mandie Brandt prevailed clocking a PB of 2:04.65, with Juanee Cilliers taking the bronze (2:06.38).

Wenda Theron has been undefeated domestically for two seasons now in the women’s 400m hurdles and Saturday proved to be no different as she won added the student title to the SA title she won two weeks ago in Durban. Theron was in a class of her own, clocking 57.92sec ahead of Jane Theron and Mariska Meintjies.

In the absence of SA record holder LJ Van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks, favourite in the men’s race was PC Beneke, and he duly delivered. It was a tight affair though, as Beneke tied up dramatically in the final 50m and almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

With 80m left Beneke had a 4m lead over Hardus Maritz and Franscois Retief. The finish line could not come soon enough for Beneke as desperately lunged for the line to win in 52.54. In a dead heat for the silver and bronze medal, Maritz was awarded the runner up spot over Retief, although both were timed at 52.63sec

Sonja van der Merwe came through very strongly in the final 40m of the women’s 200m and surged past a tiring Cindy Stewart who also battled to hold off a fast finishing Stacey Gardiner. But in the end van der Merwe was the pick of the crop crossing the line on 24.02sec.

The men’s shot put also delivered a scintillating competition. Ross Jordaan of the host club Maties hit 19m exactly with his final heave, but had to watch as UJ’s Jaco Engelbrecht unleashed a massive personal best to send the metal ball to 19.42m.

Engelbrecht’s previous best had been 18.37m ÔÇô improving by over 1m. ÔÇ£What a time to unleash the big one,ÔÇØ were his words after winning the competition. Engelbrecht in the process booked his ticket to Shenzen, China for the World Student Championships.

As expected, the men’s 800m was another close race. When the dust settled (you could throw a blanket over the top four), Andre Olivier had snuck home first ahead of Windy Jonas, Zwelakhe Seboto and Tlou Seloba –┬á Olivier’s time 1:49.42. Jones clocked 1:49.79. Seboto won the bronze in 1:49;90 and Seloba was run out of the medals ÔÇô 1:49.97.