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Nyonga back in action

After the first of the Yellow Pages Summer Series Athletics Meetings in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, the next leg of the four meet series moves to the De Jager Stadium in Oudtshoorn on Monday as some of South Africa’s talented athletes will get together and join in the fun of summer athletics.

One of the big draw cards for Oudtshoorn is the men’s mile in which Amos Mkhuseli Nyongo will be out to ÔÇ£defend my title from PEÔÇØ. Nyongo just got the better of a returning Johan Cronje in Port Elizabeth, but he has yet decide if he will also run in the street mile on Tuesday.

This time round though, the athletes will be helping along by Elroy Gelant who will be setting the pace for the first 1200m.  Local athlete Ettiene Plaatjies recently ran 2min 58sec (1200m) in training which according to his coach and event oganisor Hans van der Veen equates to a sub four-minute mile. Cronje, from Kovsies,  finished second at the first leg of the Yellow Pages Summer series in Port Elizabeth and is returing from an 18-month lay-off due to injury which ended in a knee operation.  He clocked 4:08.97 behind Nyongo (NMMU) in 4:08:81. Dwayne Philander (University of Western Cape) finished third in 4:19:61 but will need to put in a lot more effort if he is to challenge the top two.

Shane Victor who was part of the 4x400m relay team that broke the SA Record and won silver at the World Championships in Daegu earlier this year will be in the 400m. Victor competed in the 600m in Port Elizabeth and claimed a gun to tape victory in 1:17.64.  His closest competitor, Hannes Naude crossed the line in 1:19:12.

Better known as a 400m athlete, Eugenie Wicksell will be making her debut in the 800m in Oudtshoorn. Her best in the 400m was recorded at 53.76sec in Stellenbosch (3 April 2009) and again in 2010 when she won the Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria (13 February). She will be up against Danel Prinsloo from Kovsies, who has a best time clocked at 4:27:16 in the 1500m. Danel is the daughter of DB Prinsloo who coaches, amongst others, Cronje.

The Street Mile on 13 December (day after the main event) will host former national 3000m steeplechase champion Nolene Conrad, who should have an experience advantage over some of the younger athletes, or those running the event for the first time.  One such athlete is Eugenie Wicksell. Danel Prinsloo is a young but talented 1500m athlete and is bound to offer some resistance to Eugenie, who has never officially run any longer distances.

Eugenie comes from a family of natural athletes as her mother, Ilse Wicksell, was the first female athlete to dip under the 2 minute mark in the 800m and who still holds the SA record for the 1000m.┬á Eugenie’s father, Ray Wicksell, represented the USA at the Olympic Games in the 5000m.

Younger sister Stephanie Wicksell is one of the upcoming athletes in South Africa and represented the nation at the World Youth Championships in France in July. Eugenie herself also competed at the World Youth Championships in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2005.

Following the second meeting in Oudtshoorn, the Yellow Pages Summer Series will move to Stellenbosch (Thursday, 15 December) and Parow, Western Cape (Saturday, 17 December).


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