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Stars out to qualify
- Updated: May 4, 2012
It’s open season on qualifying for the London Olympics this weekend when the SA Open track and field championships take place at Pilditch Stadium, Pretoria on Friday and Saturday.
Some will be using the meeting to build on their qualifying feats, some will be using it as the final chance to nail down a qualifying time or distance on local soil.
Central North West athlete Simon Magakwe, is in the former category and getting closer to breaking the SA 100-metre record after equalling Johan Rossouw’s 24-year-old record at the SA Student Championships in Johannesburg a week ago when he clocked 10.06sec in the semi-final.
ÔÇ£If the weather is good then I will go for a fast time. I have a good feeling about breaking the record,ÔÇØ said Magakwe ahead of the championships Just before the semi-final at the Student Championships last weekend, Eugene Thipe (Magakwe’s coach) told him the weather was favourable and to run for the SA Record.┬áThey expected a fast time.
To date, Magakwe remains the only athlete that has reached the Olympic Qualifying A-standard time in the 100m. The SA Open Championships will be the last official event left in South Africa to reach the A-standard time. Athletes such as Hannes Dreyer (AGN), Roscoe Engel (WPA), Waide Jooste (CGA), Leigh Julius and Sergio Mullins (EPA), as well as Magakwe, will be some of the familiar faces to line up in the men’s 100m.
Dreyer came close to the 10.18sec qualifying time after clocking a personal best of 10.23sec at the SA Student Championships on 27 April.┬á Even Roscoe Engel’s 10.20sec at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth is not far from the time required. The SA Open Championships will provide both these athletes another opportunity to qualify.
In the still-to-qualify category 400m hurdler Wenda Theron has got her eye on the Olympic Qualifying A-standard time of 55.50sec.
For Theron, like many other athletes, the dream of reaching the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games remains one of the biggest.ÔÇ£It would’ve been nice to have done it already, but I will stay positive and I am very excited about what lies ahead,ÔÇØ she said.
The 23-year-old from Tukkies dipped under 56sec for the first time in history at the SA Senior Championships (14 April), winning the race in 55.79sec.┬á ÔÇ£I have been very close to the qualifying time, but I have peace in my heart and believe that I achieve my goals when the time is right.ÔÇØ┬á According to Theron, All Africa Games silver medallist in Mozambique last year, getting so close to the qualifying time, but just missing it, is not disappointing but rather an opportunity to learn and improve before going into the next.
Should Theron clock the 55.50sec required, she will still have to achieve the performance again at an international meeting to meet the criteria as agreed upon between SASCOC and Athletics South Africa.
ÔÇ£To reach your goals is hard work and it takes a lot of your time, however I will never stop believing,ÔÇØ said Theron.
The programme for the SA Open Championships was scheduled to start at 9.30am on Friday with the last event for the day starting at 3.30pm. Proceedings for the Saturday’s final day will be from 9.30am to 4pm.