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More athletics action
- Updated: April 20, 2012
A week after the national track and field championships in Port Elizabeth, the Yellow Pages III meeting comes to Pretoria on Friday night.
With the right conditions some good performances could be on the cards for athletes looking for the A-qualifying standard. LJ van Zyl, the first track and field athlete to have qualified for the Olympics, did it on 5 April at this exact venue and Friday others to compete could follow in his path.
Amongst the women Wenda Theron has come extremely close, but is┬á yet to dip under the 55.50sec Olympic Qualifying A-standard required in the 400m hurdles.┬áFellow hurdler Lehann Fourie could very well run the qualifying time but his participation in the 110m hurdles is subject to a doctor’s visit due to a minor injury niggle.
Theron once again narrowly missed the qualifying time (55.50sec) in Port Elizabeth in the women’s 400m hurdles but she still clocked a personal best time of 55.79sec.
Yellow Pages III will be another opportunity for Theron to dip under the A-standard time. She started the season with 57.74sec in Germiston (25 February) and has since improved her time at almost every following meeting.
The new SA champion in the 110m hurdles, Junior Mkhatini will line-up in in Pretoria.┬áMkhatini became the first black athlete in South African history to win the 110m hurdles for men at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth last weekl and is now ranked amongst the top senior athletes with 13.96sec.
Fourie is still struggling with a minor muscle injury and missed the SA Senior Championships, but he has run a faster time (13.31sec) at the Florida Relays in Gainesville on 6 April albeit with the assistance of an illegal backwind (3.0m/sec).
Should Fourie line-up in the 110m hurdles on Friday it could be a very exciting race, especially since Fourie is very capable of dipping under the 14sec mark and Mkhathini can produce in a competitive environment against each other.
Fourie requires a 13.52sec clocking to achieve the Olympic Qualifying A-standard time. ÔÇØIf I don’t run on Friday in Pretoria there are still a lot of good races left oversees for me,ÔÇØ said Fourie.
Neither Van Zyl nor Cornel Fredericks will compete in Pretoria in the 400m hurdles as both athletes have secured their spots in the team to compete at the Olympic Games in London later this year.
This will leave the race open for Le Roux Hamman and Shaun van Wyk to claim victory, both running in front of their home crowd.┬áHamman ran a personal best of 50.99sec in Germiston on 31 March when he won the Under-23 400m hurdles title.┬á He also won the silver medal at the SA Championships.
Two-time SA champion in the women’s 100m hurdles Claudia Viljoen (Tuks) is the strongest athlete in the field with her best this season the 13.67sec clocked in Port Elizabeth on 14 April.
Kyla Gilbert (CGA) will most likely be Viljoen’s strongest competition as her best this season is 13.81sec run in Germiston on 25 February.┬á Teammate Erika Kleynhans and Maryke Brits from Boland will run along with Steffi van Wyk from Namibia.