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Nailbiting end to Varsity Cup athletics in Stellenbosch
- Updated: April 22, 2015
Tukkies and Pukke shared the overall spoils in the Varsity Cup athletics meeting at Coetzenberg Stadium, Stellenbosch on Monday.
NWU-Pukke set new Varsity athletics records in two of the four men’s field events at the event. Potchefstroom finished top in the hammer and discus, with Alan Cumming taking the former in dramatic circumstances and Ruan Murray finishing top in the discus.
There was a win for UWC in the javelin, with Stephen Klue too good for NMMU’s Chad Herman, while in the long jump UP-Tuks’ Duwayne Boer managed to hold off the challenge of newly crowned national champion Ruswahl Samaai from UJ.
In the women’s events the home team claimed the honours in three races and finished second in one, with Justine Palframan winning the 100m, Jean Marie Senekal taking the 100m hurdles and finishing second in the 400m hurdles and their 4x100m team finishing the evening on a high with a win in front of their home crowd.
UP-Tuks also won two of the races on the night, with Anneri Ebersohn just holding off Senekal in the 400m hurdles and Anuscha Nice winning the 800m easily.
The 3000m race was won by Olympic 800m silver medallist Caster Semenya who powered past the rest of the field in the final stages to clinch a dramatic victory.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key events:
NWU-Pukke’s Cumming set a new varsity record with his final throw of the evening. Cumming was lying in second place behind UJ’s Christiaan Stebbing, whose second throw of 57.81m had him in pole position, but Cumming then hurled the hammer 58.13m with his final effort, edging Stebbing in the process, with Kovsies’ Juan Muller finishing third with a throw of 55.88.
Klue from UWC held off the challenge of national champion and Varsity record-holder Herman to claim the Javelin title. Klue’s throw of 72.50 handed him top spot on the podium, with UP-Tuks’ Herman finishing second with a throw of 71.07m and NWU-Pukke’s Jayson Henning’s effort of 68.19m earning him third place.
There was something of an upset here with national champion Ruswahl Samaai only finishing in third place with a best jump of 7.03m. It was Duwayne Boer from UP-Tuks who took the honours with a jump of 7.28m, with NWU-Pukke’s Koketso Mogapi ending second not far behind at 7.21m. Samaai had set a new personal best of 8.38m at the national championships at the same venue on Friday.
Ruan Murray from NWU-Pukke set a new Varsity record with a throw of 56.42m, beating previous record holder Dewald van Heerden from UJ into second place. Van Heerden threw the discus 53.98m, which made him the only other athlete to break the 50m barrier with Kovsies’ Ryno van Winkel finishing third with a throw of 49.68m
UP-Tuks and South Africa’s No1 sprinter, Akani Simbine made a massive statement in the 200m – by adding another Varsity sprint title to his belt – to prove why he is the fastest man in the country right now. No-one came close to the speedster as he led from start to finish to record a winning time of 21.00 seconds. Kovsies’ Gideon Trotter had to settle for second place in a time of 21.47.
The men’s race got off to a flying start with Pukke’s Pieter Conradie and Diwan Kamoetie of Maties leading the way after the opening 200m. Conradie managed to put some distance between himself and Kamoetie and broke away from the pack as the final 100m approached. He seemed to have it all under control with 90m to go, however, Kovsies’ Wayde van Niekerk – who kept in touch with the pace setters throughout the race – ran a tactical race and kicked up a gear with 80m to go to prove why he is South Africa’s best 400m sprinter as he cruised to victory in a time of 46.08 seconds. Conradie had to settle for second place in a time of 46.83 while Jon Seeliger of UP-Tuks secured third place with a time of 47.14 seconds.
The mile began at a very fast tempo as the athletes jostled for position. Henry Makane (UJ), Rantso Mokopane (NWU-Pukke), Rynardt van Rensberg (UFS-Kovsies) and Llewellyn Groeneveld (Maties) were the early pace setters but Groeneveld faded as they went past the halfway mark of the race. As the race wound down, Mokopane held a slender lead with fellow favourite Van Rensberg keeping himself tucked in third spot behind Makane. Mokopane and van Rensberg went head-to-head down the home straight and it was the man from Bloemfontein who had enough in the tank to blitz the rest of the field and claim victory in a time of 4:09.21. Mokopane finished in a time of 4:09.69 to secure second spot while third spot was claimed by Anthony Timoteus as he sped his way past Makane in the final 100m to record a time of 4:10.64.
The men’s sprint came to a dramatic conclusion with the lead in the 4x100m changing hands at every handover. Pukke got off to a blistering start in the opening 100m and had the lead at the first changeover. UWC then threw their name into the mix as they took the lead at the second changeover. However, UP-Tuks showed their class when Simbine anchored them to victory in the final 100m. UWC had to settle for second place while Kovsies came agonisingly short of snatching second place but, in the end, had to settle for third.
The high jump was a straight out battle between June Roelofse of UP-Tuks and NWU-Pukke’s Julia du Plessis as both ladies entered the fray with the bar set at 1.65m. Both easily cleared the height but failed to clear 1.7m with their next three jumps and had to settle for a share of top spot. There was joy for Maties as well as Carla Bron cleared 1.65m with her second attempt before failing at 1.70m in her final attempt to clinch third spot on count-back.
The top four ladies all exceeded the 15m mark and it would come down to a matter of centimetres to separate them in a tense battle. It would be Sonia Smuts of UP-Tuks who dug deep with her third throw of the night to land the killer blow with a distance of 15.78m. NWU-Pukke’s Geraldine Duvenage had only two valid throws on the night with her second throw flying 15.36m to secure second spot while Ischke Senekal of NMMU-Madibaz settled for third place as her third throw of the night landed on the 15.20m mark.
UJ’s Zinzi Chabangu spoiled Tuks’ clean sweep when she claimed top honours with a fantastic leap of 12.84m to be the only athlete to exceed the 12m mark. Kelly Lynn Kingwill of NMMU-Madibaz settled for second place with a leap of 11.92m while third place was taken by UFS-Kovsies’ Marlize Campher with a leap of 11.75m.
Home favourite Justine Palframan got the crowd going early on with a blistering time of 11.75 to win the 100m sprint. Palframan is the national 200m and 400m champion, and showed what she can do over a shorter distance as well to take the win. She was followed by NWU-Pukke’s Melissa Hewitt who finished in 11.94, with UP-Tuks’ Margaret Olwoch third in 12.05.
Anneri Ebersohn from UP-Tuks bolted out of the blocks and built up a significant lead, but Maties’ Jean Marie Senekal came back strongly with the support of a vocal home crowd at Coetzenburg. It was just the two of them as they came down the home straight, and Ebersohn just managed to edge Senekal in what was a photo finish on the line. Ebersohn finished in 59.28, with Senekal second by the slimmest of margins in a time of 59.32 and NWU-Pukke’s Cynthia Testsewa third in 62.37.
Mamphielo Sibanda from UJ set the early pace, with the chasing pack on her shoulder in a tight group. TUT’s Murendwa Davhana hit the front in the second half of the race and tried to put some distance between herself and the rest, but she was kept in check as a lead group of five runners separated themselves from the rest. Davhana fell away on the penultimate lap, and Maties’ Zani Kruger made a move, with Sibanda and UP-Tuks’ Stella Marais close behind, but they were all left behind by Semenya who put on the afterburners and raced past them on the final straight to win in a time of 9.49.85, with Kruger second and Sibanda in third.
Senekal from Maties followed up her second place in the 400m hurdles with an impressive victory in the 100m hurdles. Much to the delight of the Stellenbosch crowd Senekal left her rivals behind her, running a time of 14.09. She was followed closely by Lizzy Kriel from Kovsies in a time of 14.18 and UJ’s Chrizanne Markram finished third a little further behind in 14.81.
UP-Tuks’ Nice made a fast start and put some space between herself and the rest early on. The only runner able to stay in touch was Kovsies’ Rizani van Aswegen, but she faded away in the last stages of the race and was passed by Gena Lofstrand from NWU-Pukke who finished second. There was no catching Nice who finished in a time of 2.08.07 head of Lofstrand and Van Aswegen.
With the overall result coming down to the final race all eyes were on UP-Tuks and NWU-Pukke, but it was home side Maties that took the win fairly easily in the end. UP-Tuks managed to hold off NWU-Pukke to take second place.
Picture of Tuks and Pukke athletes sharing the trophy is courtesy of Catherine Kotze/SASPA