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Solid displays from Van Rooyen, Simbine at Diamond League
- Updated: June 5, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
While new SA javelin find Rocco van Rooyen might not be in seventh heaven after his debut Diamond League outing in Italy, he’ll do well to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Competing at the Pietro Mennea meeting on Thursday night, the Western Cape youngster was unable to find the form that saw him hurl his way to a huge personal best 85.39 metres, and the fourth furthest distance in SA at Green Point recently.
The 22-year-old opened with a solid 80.33m effort but was unable to improve on that and his distance was good for seventh spot of 11 competitors as Czech Republic’s Vitezslav Vesely unleashed a second round 88.14 to take gold.
Commonwealth champion Julius Yego was also in great form, the Commonwealth champion throwing 87.71m for a Kenyan record.
Van Rooyen said afterwards: ‘Had an amazing experience at my first diamond league in Rome tonight. I believe I gained a lot of experience and can take a lot out of it, I’m glad the ice is broken and happy to take seventh place for now against the best throwers in the world.
‘Had a decent opener with 80.33 but felt super slow, I then changed my run-up speed but lost all my rhythm, and all the throws were forced and uncomfortable, plus the stress was mounting high.
‘Nevertheless I really enjoyed it and will take what I can out of it to get to that 85m+ again.’
Also in action was sprint ace Akani Simbine as he continued to nail down that elusive sub-10sec clocking in the 100m.
Winner Justin Gatlin had no such stress as he blitzed to a 9.75m victory and dragging the second and third placed finishers under 10sec as well.
Simbine had a better, if not perfect start, with his reaction time of 0.170sec the second slowest of the nine-strong field. He had to play catch-up once again but clocked a credible 10.08, and 0.01sec inside his season’s best.
At 21, Simbine was the youngest in the line-up, and 17 years the junior of St Kitt’s and Nevis star Kim Collins.