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Season’s best for Willem

By Mark Etheridge

Our top decathlete, Willem Coertzen ended fourth with a season’s best points tally in an international Combined Events meeting in Germany at the weekend.

Named in Athletics South Africa’s provisional team to travel to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in South Korea next month, Coertzen amassed a total points tally of 8095. That was 105 points short of an A qualifying mark but better than the 8000 required for the B standard.

London-based Coertzen, a member of Team SA at the last World Championships in Berlin, Germany was encouraged by his return at the Erdgas Mehrkampf Meeting in Ratingen, but says there’s still work to be done.

“I feel like there’s a lot to come still, I just need to put everything together and hopefully I can do that at world’s. I have now had three solid B qualifiers behind me so lets hope I make that final team.”

Coertzen’s competition first day saw season’s best 10.97sec in the 100 metres and high jump (2.03) as well as a wind assisted personal best in the long jump (7.64).

“But I ran a terrible 400m (49.78) a second slower than I normally do. I was in a terribly slow heat and started way too slowly so I lost some 30 points there. Anyway I was 105 points up on my first day score that I had in the Czech Republic recently.

“So it was looking good and I just needed to keep everything together but unfortunately that it often doesn’t work like that in multi-events!”

His second day started off well enough as he equalled his personal best in the discus (42.73). “Still, I was a bit disappointed because I’ve been throwing 45m consistently in training.”

The pole vault is where things have not been going well for Coertzen of late and he could only clear 4.30m. ” I lost 90 points there and it was a bit of a mess. I’ve been struggling with pole vault, not sure why but it’s just not working in training. I’m struggling to plant so I just keep running up and down the whole session. There’s no consistency so come competition time I plant but everything just feels strange.

“After pole vault my javelin was Ok and then I finished strongly with my 1500m (4:26.51). I still feel there’s a lot left in the tankÔǪ I just need to get my pace and strategy right.”

The competition was won by Algeria’s Larbi Bouraada with an African record 8302 points from Germany’s Rico Freimuth (8287) and Pascal Behrenbruch (8232). As matters stand he’s the world’s 21st ranked decathlete this year. American Ashton Eaton leads the standings with the 8729 he scored in Eugene, Oregan last month.


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