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Mokoka the master as he breaks 20-year-old track record
- Updated: April 19, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Friday saw long-jumper Ruswahl Samaai on top of the world and Saturday Stephen Mokoka did the same in the 5000-metre race as the national track and field championships wrapped up in windy conditions at Stellenbosch.
Mokoka, who was South Africa’s best finisher at the recent world cross-country championships, ran 13min 11.44sec to break Shadrack Hoff’s 20-year-old mark of 13:14.16.
That gave him an excellent distance double after he had won the 10,000m the previous morning. On Friday Samaai had leapt to an 8.38m personal best and 2015 world-leading mark.
The sprint events went to Akani Simbini who took the 100m title in 10.25sec while 2012 Olympian Anaso Jobodwana took the 200m in 20.35.
Jobodwana has been busy on the US indoor circuit recently and this could have had an effect on his bend running.
Wayde van Niekerk blitzed to the one-lap victory in 44.91sec, good for fourth on the world rankings but the season is very much still in its infant stages.
The women’s 100m sprint title went to Carina Horn (11.41) while there was also a great double for Justine Palframan
Now studying at Maties, the Eshowe talent took gold in the 200 and 400m. She clocked 23.26 to win the 200m and also bagged the one-lap title in 52.49.
‘I’m particularly happy with my 400m because every time I run it the time goes down. And I’m almost at the qualifying time for the 200m, it was only 0.06sec away this time but into a 2.2m/sec headwind. So I’m happy with what I achieved,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
Qualifying time for the world champs in the one-lapper is 52.00. ‘My personal best is 51.87.
‘I still really enjoy the 200m and find it easier but I’m starting to get the 400m right to it’s getting more enjoyable.’
The hurdles events were a great occasion for coach Irma Reyneke who coaches the gold and silver medallists in the women’s 400m as well as men’s winner LJ van Zyl and the other two hurdles medallists, giving her five
Wenda Nel won the women’s title with a time of 55.27 from Anneri Ebersohn runner-up with 57.79sec.
Van Zyl, a two-time Olympian was a proud man after his win 49.29sec triumph. ‘I’m very happy to have won my seventh senior hurdles title now! My first was when I was aged 17 in 2003, so it was a special occasion. And there have been lots of developments in my life recently. I’m becoming a dad in September and I’ve had a new coach in Irma since December.
‘She’s worked wonders with me and my 200m has also improved by 0.30sec. So my form is good this year and I’ll plan nicely ahead of world champs in Beijing later this year. Hopefully now that I’ve won SA’s again I’ll be good enough to be included back on SASCOC’s OPEX programme.’
Runners-up in the 400m hurdles were Le Roux Hamman and PC Beneke with 50.16 and 50.17 respectively.
Olympic 800m silver medallist Caster Semenya won the 800m title in 2:05.05, more than four seconds out of world championships qualification territory but she’s looking a lot slimmer than in previous years and will be worth watching as the championships edge closer.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Khotso Mokoena won the triple jump title with a 16.63m.
Fellow Commonwealth Games competitor Orazio Cremona booked his place for Beijing with a winning heave of 20.49m and he was joined in the qualifying ranks by runner-up Jaco Engelbrecht (20.45). ‘It’s been the toughest nationals ever but I pulled off the win and a world championships qualifying throw.’ said Cremona.
Next up for many of the athletes is the Varsity Cup meeting at the same venue on Monday evening.