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Track stars’ double blow

South African middle distance track running has been dealt a double blow this month.

First multiple national 1500-metre champion Johan Cronje had to undergo a knee operation after months of frustrating pain and injury and now 2008 Olympic finalist Juan van Deventer’s season looks to have come to an end.

The two athletes both rank in the top five listing of South Africans in the 1500m and if at the top of their game would both be hoping to make the final at the 2012 London Olympics

Sapa reported that Van Deventer was hit by a car while training in Ruimsig on the West Rand on Wednesday. Van Deventer’s manager Oliver Topueth said┬á he was hit by a car while cutting a corner on a training run.

“He is lucky to be alive. The car hit him on his knee and his knee cap was subsequently broken,” Topueth said on Thursday. Topueth said Van Deventer would undergo an operation later on Thursday and it would take at least two months for the knee to heal.

“This is a nightmare for Van Deventer as his winter season went extremely well and he was in the shape of his life,” he said.

Van Deventer was set to leave for Shanghai on Thursday for Sunday’s second event in the 14-meeting Diamond League series in China.

Topueth said the 28-year-old had also been preparing for the fourth Diamond League meet in Eugene in the United States on June 4. “He was supposed to run the mile in Eugene, which is the most prestigious mile meeting in the world.”

Already this year he won the national title over the same distance in April and achieved the B-standard qualifying time for the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August.


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