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SA’s Glasgow bound athletes let nothing slip
- Updated: June 11, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
A handful of our newly selected 2014 Commonwealth Games athletes were in action at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday… but gave nothing away in terms of form leading up to the Glasgow Games next month.
Two-time Commonwealth Games medallist LJ van Zyl was first up in the 400-metre hurdles and ended fifth in 50.45seconds.
American Ashton Eaton again produced an impressive run to win in 49.16 as Van Zyl failed to break the 50sec barrier for the second time running.
“My rhythm isn’t perfect right now,” a candid Van Zyl told Road to Rio 2016 after his race. “And if your rhythm isn’t great in a 400m hurdles race it feels like a marathon so that’s why I ran another 50sec.
“But I’m flying to New York tomorrow for the next leg and I’m hoping to nail another 48sec there… watch me.”
In form Johan Cronje, also in the squad for Scotland, took 10th spot in the men’s mile.
The Bloemfontein athlete, who has excelled in the last year with a bronze medal in the 1500m at World Champs last year and the SA mile record in recent weeks, clocked 3:54.24, almost four seconds outside his national mile mark.
“I felt extremely confident to go sub 3:50, but I hit a wall with 200m to go,” Cronje told Road to Rio 2016. “I can’ explain why. At least I go home now for a months training ÔÇô that I need desperately. Next race now is Glasgow on 12 July.”
The race was won by Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman in 3:49.49. Cronje was lying sixth after a lap and a half but dropped back markedly as the field exited the last back straight.
Simon Magakwe, also in the Games squad alongside Van Zyl and Cronje, lined up in lane one in the men’s 100m.
The man who is South Africa’s quickest ever over 100m with his 9.98sec at national championships in Tshwane earlier this year, was certainly not left for dead but had little left at the death and ended sixth in 10.28 as Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson won in 10.02.
Olympic silver medallist in the long jump six years ago, Khotso Mokoena, was in action in the triple jump. Also in the team for Glasgow, he ended seventh of eight competitors with a 16.38m leap, well off his personal best of 17.25m.
Meanwhile, Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Caster Semenya did little to suggest that her exclusion from the Commonwealth squad was unjustified.
Running her favourite 800m distance she showed a better start than in recent races as a big field was led through the first lap in 57.45sec.
But when push came to shove there was once again no reaction from Semenya as Eunice Sum of Kenya went on to win in 1:59:02. Semenya trailed in last in 2:03.68.