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No luck for SA athletes

It was a barren night in Marseille Thursday night as our group of athletes hunting Olympic qualifying times came up empty-handed, writes Mark Etheridge.

A group of around 10 athletes were in action, on the same night as Sunette Viljoen was shining with silver at the Diamond League meeting in Rome.

Johan Cronje and Juan van Deventer were out to run a second and first Olympic A standard time respectively in the 1500m but both fell short. Cronje was second in 3min 36.83sec while Van Deventer, in his third European race, was third in 3:38.41. Both were out to dip inside the 3:35.50 mark.

“Not the result we wanted tonight in Marseille, but still close with a 3:36… two more opportunities await,” said Cronje afterwards.

South African winners on the night were Tsholofelo Thipe in the 400-metre with a time of 51.79, 0.24 outside the international qualifying time she needs to come into contention for the Games and Hannes Dreyer in the 100m (10.43). Fellow South African Rorisang Rammonye was third in Thipe’s race with a 53.25.

SA 400m champion Ofentse is also on the outside looking in as he ended third with a 45.97 effort, and some way off the 45.30 qualifying time needed. In his defence though was that he has been suffering with a cold and flu bug since arriving in Europe.

Sprinter Thuso Mpuang took second in the 200m with a time of 21.01, 0.46sec adrift of the A standard while Dreyer (21.16) and Waide Jooste (21.33) were in the same race.

Ruan de Vries took fifth in the 110m hurdles with a 13.99 (A standard 13.52).

There was also little joy from the long jumpers. Janice Josephs was fourth with a 6.12m effort (6.75 is the required distance) while Zarck Visser won with a 7.95m best, 25cm shy of the qualifying distance.


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