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SA stars up their game on day two of nationals in Bloemfontein
- Updated: March 23, 2016
The nation’s track and field stars continued to lead the way on Tuesday, producing another spate of world-class performances on day two of the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Bloemfontein.
A total of 11 South African athletes achieved A-qualifying standards in their events for the Rio Paralympics – Fanie van der Merwe (100m, T37), Dyan Buis (100m, T38), Union Sekailwe (100m, T38), Arnu Fourie (100m, T44), Mpumelelo Mhlongo (100m and long jump, T44), Ntando Mahlangu (100m, T42), Pieter du Preez (100m, T51), Hilton Langenhoven (400m, T12), Reinhardt Hamman (javelin throw, F38), Ilse Hayes (100m, T13) and Chanelle van Zyl (shot put, T44).
Langenhoven, Mahlangu and Fourie continued to display fine form, having already achieved the Rio qualifying standards the day before in their respective 200m races.
Hayes was 0.18sec outside her world record, clocking 12.07 seconds in the short dash, though she made her intentions clear with a fine performance in the early stages of the season.
Mahlangu was the star performer on the day. Aside from setting his second qualifying mark, the 14-year-old sprinter also broke the African record in the 100m dash in his class, clocking 13.34 seconds.
Two other continental marks fell, with Hermanus Blom producing a 48.63m effort in the men’s discus throw (F12) and Maria Combrink launching a 9.15m heave in the women’s shot put (F44).
Meanwhile, on a quiet day in the pool, there were no Olympic qualifying performances or senior records set, but seven national marks were broken in age group events.
In the football tournament, North West handed Eastern Cape a crushing 8-0 defeat, climbing to the top of the standings.
Free State, who played to a 1-1 draw against Gauteng, were lying second in the table, trailing the log leaders on goal difference.
Back to athletics and Mark Etheridge reports that there were tears of agony and ecstasy for Reinhardt Hamman in the men’s F38 javelin.
Hamman lost his father to a heart attack recently in the midst of preparing for these championships and used his dad’s memory as extra motivation.
‘I managed to pull off a 48.22m which has put me back to No1 in the world and comfortably qualified for Rio 2016,’ he told Road to Rio 2016. I’m very happy with my throw, as we are building for Rio 2016. Javelin was my only event here in Bloemfontein as its my only schedule event at the Rio Games.
‘That throw today today was definitely for my dad! Next up are SA seniors in Stellenbosch.’
Staying with the field events and Tyrone Pillay also got into the act of qualifying with a win in the F42 shot put. ‘I placed first with a throw of 12.36m which was an A qualifying standard for Rio. It wasn’t my best comp but considering I’ve been out injured for nearly three months. I was pleased.’
Said the giant Durbanite who bursts shirtsleeves for fun with his musclebound frame: ‘It’s been a long road to recovery but I thing we’re on the right track. It’s an amazing feeling being here at these champs and to see all the great athletes we have in South Africa competing at their bests. It truly motivates and inspires one to be their best
‘With the Paralympics only a few months away, I wish everyone the best with qualifying and always keeping South Africa on the map.’
On the track and another man recovering from injury, but half the size of Pillay is London Paralympics bronze medallist Jonathan Ntutu in the T12 100m.
‘I ran my very first race since the World Cup in Doha because since late December I’ve been suffering with Patella tendonitis on my right knee. I’ve been working with SASCOC doctor Carolette Cloete and my physio Aneurin Robyn. I only started on the track on 1 Feb and have a lot of work yet to to.
‘My race was what we expected and I ran an 11.6 B qualifying standard in the 100m. At the able-bodied nationals at Stellenbosch I’ll have my A qualifier.’