Semenya seals spot | SASCOC - SASCOC

Semenya seals spot

Former world 800-metre champion, Caster Semenya became the fifth of our track and field athletes to qualify for the Olympic Games when she won the two-lap event at Yellow Pages III in Pretoria on Friday night.

And Khotso Mokoena also leapt his way into the qualification stakes with an 8.29m jump, nine centimetres further than the 8.20m A standard qualifier.

After winning the national championships in Port Elizabeth in 2min 2.68sec last weekend the Gauteng North athlete broke the 2min barrier for the first time on South African soil  this season and claimed victory in 1:59.60, just 0.30sec faster than the 1:59.90 required to qualify.

The 2011 silver medallist reached the standard for the first time at the World Championships in Daegu and had to do another qualifier locally as as per the agreement between SASCOC and Athletics South Africa.

Semenya had the advantage of running on her home track as well as Namibian athlete Tjipekapora Herunga as pacemaker.  Monique Stander (Monnas) finished second in 2:02.57 while Mapaseka Makhanya, competing with a bout of tonsillitis, crossed the line in 2:04.77.

Semenya now joins LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles), Sunette Viljoen (javelin) and Willem Coertzen (decathlon) on the list of Olympic Qualifiers.

Khotso Mokoena (Tuks) took another step in his long jump qualifying campaign with a leap of 8.29m in perfect conditions at the ABSA Tuks stadium. Mokoena was unlucky in windy conditions last week in Port Elizabeth as he struggled with his run up and produced a best of 8.13m with the assistance of a strong tailwind. Now Mokoena needs to jump 8.20m again at an international meeting in order to add his name to the Olympic list.  Teammate Mpho Maputha finished second with an opening jump of 7.68m while Francois Coetzee, also from Tuks, came 3rd (7.20m).

Semenya’s fellow 800m world champion from three years ago, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi suffered the same fate as a week ago in Port Elizabeth, chasing the 1:45.60 qualifying time, but again falling just short but winning the race in 1:46.12. Junior Thapelo Madiba finished second in 1:47.91 with Daniel Nghipandula crossing the line shortly after in 1:48.15.

Wenda Theron is still looking for that elusive qualifying target of 55.50sec in the women’s 400m hurdles as she won her race in 56.05sec.┬áThe 23-year-old Tukkie clocked a personal best time of 55.79sec at SA Championship but on Friday again missed the time.┬áJanet Lawless (Maties) and Anneri Ebersohn (Tuks), finished second and third in 57.29sec and 58.25sec respectively.

The next event on the calendar will be the SA Student Championships in Johannesburg from 27-28 April followed by the SA Open Championships at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria on 4-5 May.