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Simon rewrites history

History, upsets, Olympics qualifying… it was all happening on the second and final afternoon of the Yellow Pages SA track and field championships in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Simon Magakwe scorched his way into the history books by winning the men’s 100-metre dash in a fine 10.11, inside the 10.18sec required to qualify for the Olympics in London. It was the first time an SA athlete has won the 100m title four times in a row.

Roscoe Engel took second in 10.20 with Hannes Dreyer a way off for bronze in 10.42.

Then there was something of an upset in the men’s 400m final where World Championships finalist Cornel Fredericks won in a fine 48.91 to beat 2011’s fastest 400m hurdler and World Champs bronze medallist LJ van Zyl.

In Van Zyl’s defence (he ran 51.00 for second spot) was that he is already pencilled into Team SA for London after having qualified in Daegu last year, and at the inter-club meeting in Pretoria two weeks ago. He merely needed to show up at this weekend’s championships to rubberstamp his selection.

In the women’s 400m hurdles event All Africa Games silver medallist Wenda Theron ran the fourth fastest time by a South African as she won her event in 55.79 but it’s still outside the 55.50 needed for London.

And in the longest “obstacle” race on the women’s programme, Tebogo Masehla claimed her eighth SA title in the women’s 3000m with a 10.12.12 win.

In the javelin it was Sunette Viljoen who sealed her place in London for certain as she bettered the 61m qualifying mark with a throw of 61.15m. It was her second last throw that did the job and ended 8.32m clear of runner-up Gerlize de Klerk.

“My training is going according to plan while London is a whole new ball game. It is positive to know you have won the bronze but that is in the past,” she told Sapa afterwards. “I really want to win an Olympic medal because it is going to be my third Olympic Games… those are the goals I set out for myself this season.”

The 800m titles went to our 2009 world champions, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya

Mulaudzi won the men’s event in 1:45.47, tantalisingly close to the A standard of 1:45.60 with Andre Olivier second in 1:46.17 and improving nicely after lengthy injury battles.

Semenya also missed the qualifying mark when she won in 2:02.68, some way off the 1:59.90 needed to qualify.

However she did qualify with her silver medal at world champs last year and will be confident of running that time overseas later in the season.

Mandie Brandt was runner-up in 2:04.36.


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