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SA athletes make their mark around Europe
- Updated: July 8, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Hungary, Ireland, Italy… all around Europe the South African flag was flying high on the international track and field scene on Tuesday night.
Pretoria’s Lebogang Shange led the way with yet another national walk record, when he uncorked a new 5000-metre best in Cork, Ireland.
The hpc/Tuks athlete walked his way to a fourth national mark of the year when he clocked 18min 56.84 to win at a European Permit meeting.
That meant he was more than 30 seconds ahead of coach Chris Britz’s old mark of 19:29.94 set back in1997.
Over the English Channel and on the European mainland it was Austrian-based Carina Horn who tackled her strongest 100-metre line-up yet and walked away with her head held high after third place at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial meeting in Budapest, Hungary.
Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica just dipped under the 11-sec barrier to win in 10.99 with America’s Tianna Bartoletta second in 11.18. Just 0.01sec behind her was Horn and when one considers they were running into a 1.2m per second headwind that’s not bad going… in fact only 0.03sec outside her recently run personal best.
‘It was a nice race,’ said the hpc athlete afterwards. ‘My start was much better this time. My goal today was to see how I could run against the big names. I had lane eight, probably because my time was the slowest going into the race and I just wanted to stay with the big names for the first 20m and then draw some more experience from that.
‘It definitely wasn’t as stressful as the other races, and a person can see that you are able to run with the big names and it can be done.
‘The time wasn’t far off my PB and I’m encouraged by the fact that this wasn’t a fast track, the surface was a bit soft but the weather was nice and warm. So all in all I’m very happy. Now my next race is in Madrid, Spain on Saturday.
Horn was the best result from a handful of South Africans in action. Jerry Motsau was up against a powerful 1500m field and came home seventh in 3:40:56, roughly three seconds behind Kenyan winner Ronald Kwemoi (3:37.76).
Also seventh was comeback athlete Ofentse Mogowane who was also up against a strong 400m field and clocked 46.58sec as Bahamian Steven Gardiner dipped in 44.30.
There were more woes for SA’s current javelin ace Rocco van Rooyen. After his huge personal best 85.39m in Cape Town earlier this year, the Western Cape athlete has come nowhere near to that sort of form and Hungary was no different as he ended 10th with a 68.97m best on the night. His PB would have seen him take gold with a margin of almost three metres.
He went into the competition with the biggest throw in the field.
But the youngster is not ready to throw in the towel and is ready to take a break now and recharge his batteries ahead of next month’s World Championships in China.
‘My first throw was like 6km too high, the second my foot hit the line (it would have been enough for three more throws) and the third was also horrible,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
‘I had pain in my elbow so pulled my arm a bit shorter to protect it but if a javeliner can’t get the pull from the shoulder the spear is going nowhere. So to cut a long story short I think I’ve finally found the problem and that is that I need more than one week’s rest. I’ve thrown from February through to now without a break.
‘So I’ll give it one more go in Finland on Sunday but the biggest thing for me now is to get home and rest and get ready for world’s. I might also try and rope ex-coach Daniel Damon in to see if he can sort out a few points.
‘Probably my worst competition ever, but at least I think I know what’s going on now, with the elbow etc and two weeks break. I wish I’d worked out earlier how crucial rest for my body is. I’ll take two weeks off now and then I’ll back. And it’ll be a big comeback. This guy doesn’t give in easily.’
Down to Italy and there was no letting up from little middle-distance ace Dominique Scott who has had a dream year on the track (and off it in fact!).
Recently engaged, the Cape Town athlete now based in Arkansas, US, improved her 1500m personal best by almost four seconds at the Lignano International meeting.
Her sixth place behind American Kerry Gallagher saw her stop the clock at 4:08.65 to break a 12-year-old Arkansas State University record, held by international athlete Christin Wurth.
‘Incredibly happy to finish my 2015 outdoor season with an Arkansas school record and PR in the 1500m – 4:08:65min while in Lignano, Italy! Now it’s time for a BREAK,’ posted an elated Scott after the meeting. ‘Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout the year, especially my fiancé Cameron Efurd and family back home.’
The only other South African in action was Anaso Jobodwana who ran a 10.22 100m for third best on the night.