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SA trio all race to second spot in Switzerland
- Updated: July 10, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
‘Seconds out’ goes the old boxing saying but in track and field it was seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland for South Africa’s track and field athletes as three of them racing to runners-up spots in Thursday’s Diamond League meeting.
Sprinter Anaso Jobodwana and 400m hurdlers LJ van Zyl and Wenda Nel all had solid displays as the IAAF World Championships in China loom ever closer.
Jobodwana’s second spot in the 200m in a time of 20.21sec on a gusty Lausanne evening sees him topping the Diamond League standings in his specialist event.
He finished nice and strongly behind young British talent Zharnel Hughes who clocked 20.21sec.
Nel was next South African out of the blocks and she looked a composed figure as she came home in 55.78sec behind Denmark’s Sara Petersen (55.01).
Her time may be more than a second off her season’s best 54.37 in China but the 26-year-old is not in the least concerned.
‘It was a nice race… a big privilege to compete here, and it always will be,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘It maybe wasn’t the best race but I’m still satisfied, and happy with second. It was quite windy so you can’t read too much into the time. That’s how it goes with 400m hurdles hey. One race works perfectly and the next you maybe touch a hurdle and that impacts a bit on the time.
‘Last night I may have started too fast or too slow against that wind down the back straight, so the last 50m I was a bit tired. But I’m not complaining because I kept my pace and rhythm nicely near the end.
‘Now I’m going back home for a bit to get some more good training in.’
Van Zyl was the only other SA hurdler in action and like Nel, looked very solid as he came home strongly for a time of 48.92sec, his second sub-49sec finish of the season after his 48.78 in New York last month.
Little Bershawn Jackson of the US won in 48.71.
Said Van Zyl, who shared rooms with Jobodwana during their Swiss stay: ‘I got lane eight which wasn’t the greatest but no complaints, I’m just happy to be here.
‘The last 80-90 metres was good and I had a great finish. The wind was bugging us a bit but for me it wasn’t about the time it was about how I felt and I felt good. I held back and held back and then let go for the last bit.
‘It’s good to let the guys know that I’m still in the mix and get a bit of a psychological advantage when it comes to the big races. Now I’m still running Monaco on the 17th and London on the 25th and then back home for a while for two and a half weeks. I’m feeling good, no problems now.
‘My speed is definitely the best its ever been. Coach, Irma Reyneke, and I have worked hard on my speed and earlier in the year I brought my 200m times down nicely.
‘Now I’m going to Germany home to train nice and hard for the next challenge.’
Elroy Gelant was the only other South African in action and took 17th place in a power-packed men’s 5000m that saw plenty of barging and a crash to boot, the former cross-country champion clocking a time of 14min 04.71sec.