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SA win 34 medals
- Updated: May 15, 2011
Team South Africa will bring back 34 medals from the African Junior track and field championships in Gaborone, Botswana.
The four-day championships ended on Sunday and South Africa grabbed 13 gold, 13 silver and eight bronze medals.
This compared extremely favourably with the last championships in Mauritius two years ago where we won 22 medals.
A summary of the final day’s events:
With two Ethiopians in the walk, it was going to be tough to claim gold and silver, unless of course, a miracle happened.┬áAs it happened Ethiopian athletes, Shefrawe Aynalem Eshetu and Ayele Adanech Mengistu thrashed all their competitors with times of 22min 59.19sec and 24:55.73 respectively. Ghazal Tahani (Tun) showed that she was a force to be reckoned with as she claimed the bronze medal (26:06.04), leaving Inge Kotze behind in the 4th place (29:34.66).
Central North West athlete, Liezl de Swardt’s 48.28m was enough for the gold medal as she thrashed her closest competitor by more than five metres.┬áLeandri Swiegers (43.26m) got her silver medal taken away from her in the final round by Daoudi Hanane (Mar) as she only reached 41.79m. Hanane reached 43.94m, her best in the final round. Swiegers had to be happy with the bronze medal.
High Jump men
In an entertaining event, Free State athlete Jan Steytler finished in the second place with a height of 2.04m as he failed to clear 2.06m. Botswana athlete Aabobe Tshwanelo (2.04m) got the local spectators cheering at every jump and claimed a bronze the hosting country. Krim Hichem (Alg) claimed to be too good for all his competitors when he won the gold medal with a height of 2.06m. He did not even attempt 2.09m as the gold medal was already a given.
400m hurdles women
Jean-Marie Senekal made South Africa proud when she won the gold in 59.21sec leaving her competitors chase in vain.┬áSecond placed El Sayed Tasabih from Sudan (59.85sec) just could not catch up to Senekal as she ran a technically clever race. Senekal said that it was a tough race, not only because of the heat, but also because she struggled getting her head right before the race. Third place went to Babolai Oaribile from Botswana in 60.88sec.
Sonya van der Merwe thrashed her own personal best as she ran one of her best races in her life (23.78sec) to claim gold, finishing ahead of Ethiopian runner Manedo Fantu Magiso (23.90sec). Zanri van der Merwe (24.54sec) was denied a place in the top four two Nigerian runners, Uwakwe Nkiruka(23.94sec) and Florence Etim Mageret(24.16sec).
200m men final
South Africa added another gold to the list with Siphelo Nqgabaza (20.94) finishing ahead of the Zinbabwean, Mutang Tinashe (20.99sec). Nqgabaza was the only South African left to bring in a medal for the team as Wayde van Niekerk went out of the competition with a torn hamstring.
Discus Men Final
Charl Grobler had a bad day in the circle as four of his six throws were no throws, the same as winner Atik Amien from Morocco (56.08m).┬áGrobler still had a good performance (52.12m), claiming the silver medal as no other competitors got to the 52m mark. Nwoye Augustine from Nigeria finished in third┬á place (51.41m).
Werner Pretorius will be unhappy with himself as he took the lead from the beginning of the race but failed to place in the top three. In the end he finished fourth (14.57sec). His technique let him down as started clipping hurdles, allowing the Senegalese Ndiaya Amadou (14.33sec), teammate Tsepo Lefete (14.42sec) and the Tunisian Gharsalli Rami (14.49sec) to claim the first three positions. Lefete added a silver medal to the standings after hopping over the finish line in Saturday’s semi-finals due to cramps.
As the heptathlon concluded, Inge Viljoen (personal-best 44149) finished in the ffith place, proving that there is still a long way and lots of practice ahead of her. The inexperienced Viljoen was up against some of the most competitive athletes in Africa.
In the long jump, Viljoen had to be satisfied with sixth place as she jumped a best distance of 5.08m (0.5) to earn 581 points for South Africa. The winner in this event, Lissa Labiche (SEY) reached 6m (0.5), proving that Viljoen has a fair way to go.
Viljoen placed sixth┬áagain as she failed to throw more than 23.11m in the javelin. Winner of the event, Francis Kemi (Ngr) reached a distance of 38.29m, just over 15 meters further than Viljoen.
Showing where her strength lies, Viljoen claimed the second place in the 800m as she finished in 2.25.88, just behind Egyptian Haris Radwa Faty (2:24.19). Majore Chedza from Botswana finished third.
4x400m women relay
South Africa ran a great technical race.┬áJustine Palframan ran the final lap behind Nigeria, but took the lead in the last 100m to take the gold medal for the team. It was great team work by Sonya van der Merwe, Jean-Marie Senekal, ┬áAnri Steyn and Justine Palframan to finish in 3:38.16 ahead of Nigeria(3:38.87) and Ethiopia(3:39.82).
4×400 men relay
The surprise of the day came as at first South Africa failed to make the top three.┬áIn the third round, South Africa were in second place, but as Shaun Van Wyk took the baton for the final round, there was no stopping in the Nigerian team who initially took victory. They however got disqualified after dropping the baton before crossing the finish line allowing South Africa to claim the bronze medal behind Sudan (3:09.77) and Kenya (3:10.17).