Oscar, Caster shine | SASCOC - SASCOC

Oscar, Caster shine

It was both a good and bad morning for Team SA at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea on Thursday.

The best news was that quartet of Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius, Ofentse Mogawane, Willie de Beer and Shane Victor blasted their way into the finals of the 4×400-metre relay and did so in record-breaking style.

De Beer ran the last leg and when he hit the tape in 2min 59.21sec it meant that the quarter had broken the previous record of 3:00.20 set in 1999, also at World Championships, by Jopie van Oudtsoorn, Hendrik Mokganyetsi, Adriaan Botha and Arnaud Malherbe.

“It is unbelievable to be one of four names on a list to run a national record,” a jubilant Pistorius told Reuters. “I’m extremely proud. To make the final makes me even more happy.”

South Africa finished third behind the USA (2:58.82) and Jamaica (2:59.13) and leaves the selectors with an interesting and not necessarily a bad dilemma as to who to run in the final. The fastest individual 400m time posted this year by a South African is 44.86sec run in March by LJ Van Zyl.

He is also notorious for running blistering times for the anchor leg of the relay. South Africa also has at their disposal the other 400m hurdles, Cornel Fredericks. The final will be held on Friday.

There was also good news for Commonwealth Games javelin champion Sunette Viljoen who topped her group with a great throw of 65.34m, her opening throw. Automatic qualification was 61m and Viljoen, who recently set a national mark, looks to have hit her straps at just the right time. Our second javelin competitor, Justine Robbeson, wasn’t able to make it through qualifying with her best effort being a 58.08m.

World champion Caster Semenya was in action in the fourth heat of the 800m qualifiers and comfortably progressed to the semi-finals, clocking the same time as the winner in her heat, world leader Mariya Savinova ÔÇô 2:01.01.

The bad news was that Beijing silver medallist and world championship silver medallist last time out, Khotso Mokoena failed to go past the qualification round, fouling twice before managing 8m which proved to be 2cm less than what was needed to make the final.

But rising star Luvo Manyonga had no such worries, a third effort of 8.04m enough to see the world junior champion into the final.

Earlier on Elroy Galant finished 10th in the 5000m with a time of 13:48.33 and did not progress to the final.