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Cremona and sprint duo progress at athletics

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By Mark Etheridge

Two of Team South Africa’s 100m sprinters went through to the semi-finals of the men’s event as the track and field competition got underway in Glasgow on Sunday.

National champion Simon Magakwe and runner-up in that race, Akani Simbine both qualified automatically. But late addition to the team, Ncincilili Titi fell by the wayside.

Also progressing automatically, but in his case to the final, was shot-putter Orazio Cremona.

Our only para-athlete in action on day one, was Juanelie Meijer who took part in a straight final and ended fifth in the combined T37/38 long jump.

First off, in heat five of nine, was Titi who ended fourth in 10.48 as big Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade won in 10.40.

‘I had a nice start but faded a bit, probably because it’s my first race since April, said the 20-year-old youngster who had no problem with the slight cross-wind… he’s busy attending flight school and already has 38 hours under his wing.

‘This is easily the biggest crowd I’ve ever run in front of. I heard them but didn’t want to look at them as I rather wanted to focus. It was good to equal my personal best time as well but I think I’m more of a 200m guy, so we’ll see then said the Selborne College product.

Next up was Magakwe who went off in heat seven. Antigua’s Daniel Bailey won in 10.30 and Magakwe, originally placed ahead of England’s Richard Kilty, was relegated to third in the same time of 10.34.

‘I don’t want to complain, but honestly, the wait between the warm-up area and the call-room before we started was a bit long for my liking because the muscles start cooling down.

‘My start is definitely improving though, and the semi-final should be a lot better,’ said the Potchefstroom express.

And then it was young Simbine, the former Zone VI Games champion and a member of the SA team to last year’s World Championships in Russia.

He was in the heat immediately after Magakwe and left no doubts as to the qualifying route as he won it in 10.32 from Harold E Houston of Bermuda (10.38).

‘In the beginning the guy on my right stumbled a bit so I lost my concentration,’ he said. ‘But then I relaxed and got into my stride and was even able to ease down a bit near the end. I must say it was a great atmosphere here at Hampden Park.’

Last off was Cremona in the shot put and he sailed through with his best of three qualifying efforts, thudding home in 20.03. That put him second of his group behind Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards (20.24).

‘It was good today,’ he said. ‘I knew after my second throw (19.79) that I’d go through (automatic qualifying stood at 19.30m).’ That after having opened with an 18.68 effort.

‘The circle felt 100% which is always a nice thing. I felt very comfortable and the crowd was amazing, it felt like I was in a final, very much like the World Indoor Championships with the crowd up close.’

What’s it going to take to medal? ‘Looking at the distances etc, I’d say one may even be able to medal with something between 20.20 and 20.50 but I think gold may need around 21m.’

And then there was little Meijer in her biggest competition to date.

Going into the competition with a 4.08m best behind her name, the T38 athlete got off to a wobbly start with a red-flagged no-jump. She followed that up with a 3.97 and on her third effort produced her best jump of the day with a 4.06m.

‘It was very exciting,’ said the 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil at Fichardt Park, Bloemfontein.

‘I didn’t jump very well tonight but it was just great to compete in a final at this level and get the experience. And at least it was very close to my personal best. The crowd were really amazing to experience.’


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