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SA athletes all take podium finishes in Sweden

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One win, a second and two third places came South Africa’s way in the Sollentuna Grand Prix track and field meeting in Sweden on Thursday evening, writes Mark Etheridge.

The victory went to Wayde van Niekerk, recently crowned SA record holder in the men’s 400-metre. Running the 200m on this occasion Van Niekerk won in 20.53 seconds to relegate Ukraine’s Serhiy Smelyk into second spot (20.71).

“The weather was freezing so I struggled a bit, but I’m still pleased with my performance,” Van Niekerk told Road to Rio 2016 on Friday morning. “Next up is a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on 3 July where he’ll run the 200m.

Glasgow looms later next month when Van Niekerk will be on Commonwealth Games duty and he’ll only be running the 400m, not the 200m at the Games.

Also in the team for Glasgow and in Swedish action was long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and he sealed silver with a leap of 7.84 behind local athlete Michel Torneus (7.85).

Multiple SA 100m hurdles champion Rikenette Steenkamp took third spot in her event, cloaking 13.38sec as Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz won in 13.26.

Final South African action saw Justine Palframan also grab third in the 200m with a 23.77 clocking behind Ukraine’s Natalia Strogova (23.58). Said Palframan, who also found time for a photo opportunity with high jump great Blanka Vlasic: “My bend felt good and I came out of it strong and in the lead but then my legs tensed up and I couldn’t do much about it. I think it was the travelling, combined with the weather, it was only around 10deg when I ran.”

Next up is a 400m event for her in Nivelles, Belgium on Saturday.


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