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Coertzen claims A-qualifier for World Championships

London Olympian Willem Coertzen has posted an A standard decathlon qualifier for the IAAF World Championships in Russia later this year, writes Mark Etheridge.

Coertzen, who is now based in Potchefstroom, after a lengthy period in London where he was also a schoolteacher, recently competed in Austria and Germany. In the second of these he amassed a total of 8215 points, 15 points in excess of the A Standard qualifier for World Championships.

The first competition saw him his efforts scuppered by bad weather and yet another mishap in the pole vault competition.

With the temperature at an icy four deg Celcius Coertzen had another mountain to climb. He told Road to Rio 2016: “I no-heighted in the pole vault because I had to borrow poles. Virgin Airlines had confirmed that I could take my poles on the plane but the then told me at the airport that that wasn’t policy anymore. So my drama around the poles continues. I ended up not finishing the competition because I wasn’t on to a big score anyway after the pole vault.”

On to Germany for three weeks of training and then the second competition in Ratingen. “We had much better weather there so some nice training and acclimatising to conditions.

“The competition was ok but just quite windy, especially during the 100m.”

Onto his events, and he ran 10.74 for the 100m (with that illegal following wind), leapt 7.29 m in the long jump, “not good with a reasonable tail-wind” and then a stressful time in the shot put.

He finally landed a 13.10m with his final throw after two foul throws.

His high jump saw I’m clear 2.03m and then he ran 48.81 for the 400m to end his first day’s activities.

The 110m hurdles saw him stop the clocks at 14.36 after a painful encounter with the second last hurdle and he then landed the discus at the 43.61m mark. His pole vault went better than in Austria as he cleared 4.50m with poles borrowed from local German athletes. His penultimate event was the javelin (66.88m) and he rounded off his 10 events with a 4min 25sec result in the 1500m.

“It was a solid performance but nothing special,” was Coertzen’s honest assessment of his competition. “There’s a lot of room for improvement so I’m really positive about what can still come. My training has been really good this year and training in the SA sunshine has made so much difference and it’s all very positive right now.”


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