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Juan short by 0.02sec

By Mark Etheridge

Beijing Olympics 1500-metre finalist Juan van Deventer came agonisingly close to a 2012 Olympic qualifying run in Prague on Monday as time starts to run out for places on Team South Africa.

Competing in the Josef Odlozil Memorial meeting, a season’s best of 3min 35.52sec would have been scant consolation for 28-year-old Van Deventer who fell just 0.02sec short of the A standard qualifying standard. Van Deventer is playing catch-up after a year of frustration caused by a road accident in May last year where he had his kneecap fractured.

That time was good for third spot in a race won by Ethiopia’s Teshome Diressa in 3:34.55. Van Deventer’s South African colleague, Johan Cronje, was right on his heels, taking fourth in 3:35.65.

Cronje already has one qualifying time under his belt while Van Deventer must still run two A-times.

Reflecting on his race, Van Deventer told Road to London 2012: “The race went well, excepting that the time at the end wasn’t what I was hoping for. Not much else to say but I’m extremely disappointed. But I’ll hang in there and if I get another opportunity I’ll fight like I always do.

“I might run on Saturday in Tunis and will take any race that comes my way now,” he said.

In the sprint events SA champion Simon Magakwe also went close to an international time when he won the men’s 100m in 10.22, this after winning his earlier heat in 10.25. To make his spot on Team SA certain, he needs to run a 10.18 on foreign soil.

And a season’s best by Lehann Fourie in the 110m hurdles also saw him also flirt with the A standard time. Coming back strongly after hamstring injury woes, Fourie was fifth in the final, his 13.59 just 0.07sec off the qualifying target. The race was won by American Ty Akins in 13.41.

In the 400m hurdles, Mozambique’s Kurt Couto ran a qualifying time of 49.02. Trained by Hennie Kotze (coach of our own LJ van Zyl), Couto’s time was comfortably inside the 49.90 mark.

The women’s competition saw our Tsholofelo Thipe end third in the 200m, her 23.56, 0.46sec outside the A qualifying time.

And Wenda Theron, All Africa Games silver medallist last year, continues to see the A-time elude her on international soil. She qualified twice in one day in Pretoria a while back but last night’s fourth place in 56.36, was close to a second off the 55.50 mark she was chasing.


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