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SA end sixth in France
- Updated: July 11, 2011
South Africa can salute our youth athletes after the team ended the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France on Sunday with five medals and, more importantly, Team SA will return home with two new world championships in their midst.
Reinhard van Zyl became the new World Youth Champion in the javelin after an impressive performance on the final day of the Championships on Sunday. He opened with 74.02 metres, a new personal best for him, but then followed that with a massive 82.96m.┬áHis first place was never really threatened after this.
In fact, the only athlete that came anywhere close to the distance was his own teammate┬áMorne Moolman, and that only at his fifth attempt.
It was not the best start for the World Youth and SA record holder, Moolman as his opening throw measured 66.75m and adding to the pressure was his next attempt being a foul. Moolman was always chasing from that point on and was not able to reproduce the form of the qualifying rounds when he set a new championship record of 83.16m.
His best throw, with his fifth attempt, pegged at the 80.99m mark.┬áMoolman will come home with the silver medal. Guisheng Zhang of China finished third, more than three metres back, with 77.62m.
South Africa’s five medals saw them finishing joint sixth, with Ethiopia, on the medals table with two gold medals, two silver and one bronze.┬áOn Saturday Andries van der Merwe won the team’s first gold in the 110m hurdles. Moolman and Albert Janki secured the silvers.
Janki’s silver came after he leapt 15.95m to end second behind Bahama’s Laario Collie-Minns (16.06).┬áCollie-Minns jumped his 16.06 with his opening effort while Janki left it until his sixth and final jump before making sure of silver.
On Saturday Gerhard de Beer had won a bronze medal in the discus throw.
On top of the medals table USA finished with six gold, four silver and six bronze while Kenya came second with five gold, five silver and four bronze.┬á Jamaica placed third (four gold, one silver and four bronze).
The only South Africans in action on Sunday were Liezl Hechter, Philippa van der Merwe, Stephanie Wicksell and Izelle Neuhoff in the competed in the girl’s medley relay team and they were up against some of of the world’s best talents. Jamaica and America dominated from the beginning and with the Nigerians in the line-up with them; things were never going to be easy.
They ended up finishing eighth in 2:10.76. Jamaica won in 2:03.42, one of the fastest medley relays ever run, and a new World Youth Record.┬á USA finished crossed the line in 2:03.92 for second place.┬áThird position went to Canada in 2:05.72.