Joy for Andre, not Oscar | SASCOC - SASCOC

Joy for Andre, not Oscar

By Mark Etheridge

Heartbreak for Oscar Pistorius and happiness for Andre Olivier… that was the story of Friday’s second day of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Porto Novo, Benin.

Pistorius, the Paralympic Games legend, was hoping to make it to the London Olympics after having qualified locally in March with a 45.20sec. He needed to run another sub 45.30 A standard time to qualify before Saturday’s official deadline.

But the double leg-amputee failed to manage that as he clocked 45.52 to miss out by 0.22sec. Still, he stands tall after taking the silver medal in the final of the Continental Championships. Botswana’s Isaac Matwala took gold in 45.25sec.

And he may yet be named as a member of Team SA next week as part of a 4x100m relay squad.

Meanwhile Potchefstroom’s Andre Olivier has seemingly booked his place in Team SA for the Olympics after a third spot in the men’s 800m.

Olivier, one of South Africa’s many prodigious talents, broke his foot close on two years ago and has struggled to get back to his former form. But patience has paid off and he ran a huge personal best or 1min 45.09sec behind winner Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria (1:43.88).

Olivier ran his first qualifier in Hengelo, Netherlands last month when he ran 1:45.20. The A standard time is 1:45.60. He is now the only South African qualifier in the two-lapper with 2009 world champion and Olympic medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi also having not made the grade due to injury.

“It was a very fast race as the Kenyans took it out hard in┬á 49sec and┬á I followed far behind with 51,” Olivier told Road to London 2012. “With 200m to go the Algerian and Kenyan were 5m in front of me, so I just kicked on for the last 100m and I knew I had it when I went over the line. Was a good feeling.”

Meanwhile LJ van Zyl’s woes continue in the 400m hurdles. The world’s fastest man in the discipline last year with his 47.66, he’s been a pale shadow of himself as he battles with knee problems. He eased into the final with a slow 51sec heat but failed to finish the final won by Nigeria’s Morton Amechi in 49.32.

Explaining Van Zyl’s failure, coach Hennie Kotze said: “He just felt completely flat and I think it was something that he ate.”

For the rest, SA’s 4x100m relay team got gold which means Simon Magakwe who has failed to secure a spot in the 100m at the Olympics, gets his second gold of the Championships.

Magakwe combined with Hannes Dreyer, Roscoe Engel and Thuso Mpuang to win in 39.26sec, ahead of Nigeria (39.34) and Ghana (39.40).

Victor Hogan also got gold for SA in the discus with a 61.80m throw with Russel Tucker taking bronze in 57.99. Both were in action at last year’s All Africa Games in Mozambique.

Janice Josephs and Lynique Prinsloo took silver and bronze in the long jump with leaps of 6.29 and 6.22 while Anika Smith got silver in the high jump with a 1.86m effort. This after she had said after last year’s All Africa Games that her high-jumping career was over.