- Championship records for Brown and relay team
- Gobel grabs share of the lead at Kyalami
- Interim coach Ellis looks to take Banyana even further
- Opening round of 70 puts Williams in front
- Big medal haul for SA at Junior Commonwealth Games
- Successful comeback from injury as Anel grabs fourth
- Dednam duo win 10th SA doubles title
- Corbett leads the way as SA tally grows to 35
- Caster, Wayde up for Athletes of the Year award
- Seven more golds for SA at African Championships
Hamman hurtles to big PB and Olympic qualifying time
- Updated: June 12, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Le Roux Hamman put his hand up for the Rio Olympics in emphatic style in Pretoria on Saturday.
The blond 400-metre hurdler strode to a personal best of 49.24 as the new Tukkies track saw it’s first action on the official opening day at the BestMed-Mondo Meeting.
That means that yet another of Irma Reyneke’s hurdles squad has booked their ticket to Rio in less than two months! Already fellow hurdler LJ van Zyl has qualified as has Wenda Theron-Nel.
A happy Hamman, who Reyneke fondly refers to as ‘Leroutjie’, told Road to Rio 2016: ‘It still feels unreal and I really didn’t expect that time. I got sick on Tuesday and was basically in bed all week!
‘Even Friday night I didn’t think I’d run. But when I woke up on race day I could breath nice and deeply without coughing so I knew I’d be able to run.
‘The race itself was really great. Hardus Maritz was on my outside and we always run nicely together.
‘So I ran with him to the eighth hurdle and then I kicked. Thank the Lord there was still strength when I kicked so I just went for it.
‘Aunty Irma’s training works! I still can’t believe the time. It’s a huge personal best, 0.75sec better than my previous and is still sinking in.’
His next event will be in Denmark on 25 June as South Africa already have three athletes entered in the African Championships in Durban later this month.
Other stand-out performances on Saturday were:
* Luvo Manyonga winning the long jump with a distance of 8.05 metres. Zarck Visser (UJ) who competed for the first time in 10 months, finished second in 7.50m and Anthony Mwamga was third with a jump of 7.06m.
* National champion Carina Horn (Tuks/HPC) winning the 100m in 11.18sec, the third time she’s clocked that time in the last three weeks.
* Olympic bound walker, Wayne Snyman (HPC) winning the 5000m race walk in 19:42.70
* Russell Tucker (Tuks) winning the discus with a throw of 62.12m.
Meanwhile in Jamaica, world 400m champion Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk stole the show of the South African contingent at the Racers Grand Prix meeting in Kingston on Saturday night, smashing his own SA best in the 300m sprint.
He crossed the line in 31.03 seconds, holding off American LaShawn Merritt by 0.20 to secure an impressive victory.
In doing to the Bloemfontein bullet shattered his national mark of 31.63, had set in Birmingham a year ago and is only behind Michael Johnson (30.85) and Jamaican star Usain Bolt (30.97) over the rarely run 300m distance.
At the same meeting Akani Simbine clocked 10.01, just 0.05 outside his own SA record, for sixth spot in the men’s 100m while Bolt, the world record holder, won the race in 9.88.
Former SA 400m champion Justine Palframan placed seventh in a season’s best of 53.01 as she continues her comeback after injury and health setbacks
And then Dominique Scott closed out her university track career in style with a super 5000m/10000m double at the NCAA Championships in Eugene.
After winning the 10000m title on Thursday in 32:35.69, Scott bagged the 5 000m crown on Saturday crossing the line in 15:57.07. It was her last race in University of Arkansas’ Razorback colours as her eligibility comes to an end.
Back in Europe in Lier, Belgium, Nolene Conrad won the women’s 5000m in a personal best 15:55.65, after just missing out on the 16min barrier last weekend.
Conrad, pictured here, told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I knew I was in good shape and capable of running my PB, I felt great in the race, I came through 3000m a bit slower than the previous race 9:34 but then my coach said I should do it that way and focus on going faster the last five laps and that’s what I did.
‘So a great result for me, my last PB was 15:57 in 2012. This is a great result considering me and Johan Cronje (former SA 1500m champion) travelled from Fürth to Lier (Belguim) with the “fast train”.
‘Our trip was only supposed to be about 6-7 hour and it turned out to be way, way longer because we took the wrong train , so we started traveling at 11am and got to our destination at midnight , then we ran the next day.
‘But I did not let the travel get into my head and was determined to get that PB as it was my last race before I head back home for African Champs.’
At the same meeting Cronje won the men’s 1500m in 3:39.48 as he continues to chase down the 3:36.20sec Olympian qualification time.
Picture of Hamman courtesy of Reg Caldecott