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Gelant gallops to win
- Updated: December 13, 2011
Initially a pacemaker, Elroy Gelant went all the way to victory in Monday night’s second Yellow Pages Summer Series track and field meeting in Oudtshoorn.
Lining up for the mile event Gelant led the field of six athletes through the 800-metre mark in 1min 58sec ÔÇô spot on for a sub four-minute mile. But then the 5000m World Championship athlete was already 30m ahead of the chasing pack.
By the time he reached the bell (he was to take the field through 1200m in 2:58) he had a lead of 50m.
Egged on by stadium announcer, Altus Schreuder, Gelant made a brave run for the finish. He was 1 sec off the four-minute target pace as he started the last lap, and came desperately close, crossing the line in 4:01.69 ÔÇô five seconds ahead of runner-up Johan Cronje, with local junior Ettiene Plaatjies a further second adrift.
ÔÇ£I came here to pace, and stuck to my job. But when the announcer and the crowd started cheering for me and encouraging me, I kept going. It was heartbreaking to come so close, especially as this is only my second mile ever, but I am happy with the win,ÔÇØ said Gelant after his surprise win.
Multiple 1500m national champion Cronje would also have been happy with his improvement. On the comeback after lengthy injury woes, the Bloemfontein athlete was a good few seconds quicker than the 4:08.97 he ran in the opening event of the series in Port Elizabeth last week.
Earlier Sergio Mullins showed his hunger for the half lap by winning the 200m in 21.49sec and Brent Stevens is fast becoming the athlete to beat in the short sprint. Stevens had won the 60m in the first Yellow Pages Summer Series Meet and repeated the feat of beating Leigh Julius in the 100m with a time of 10.59sec.
Cape Town’s Sonja van der Merwe showed her ability when she won the 200m and 400m. In the first race, she defeated former national champion Isabelle Le Roux (24.36sec ÔÇô 24.99sec) and in the 400m she went away from the rest of the field, crossing the line in 54.54sec. ÔÇ£I am going to be focusing on both events in 2012, so this was a good exercise for me. I am really happy with my races today. There is some work to do, but this is a good indication of where I am.ÔÇØ
UJ’s Zark Visser continues to threaten the 8m with his winning jump 7.78m. ÔÇ£I am getting closer. It is just a matter of time. I really thought that I could hit the mark today and felt good, but it was not to be. It will come though.ÔÇØ
The series moves on to Stellenbosch on 15 December before finishing off on Saturday in Parow.