Tuesday, 11 July 2017 20:33

SA Track & Field: Kusche off to a winning start in Brussels

George Kusche had a victorious start to his international campaign yesterday when he won the 800m at the Brussels Grand Prix-meeting in a time of 1:47.98.

The 19-year-old Tuks/HPC-athlete, who is not scared to take the racing to his rivals, described his race as an easy day at the office. Henrico Uys, also from South Africa, was fourth in a time of 1:48.67.

Justin Palframan won the 200m in 23.07 while Anuscha Nice finished second in the 800m running a time of 2:05.43.

Wenda Nel (Tuks/HPC) seems to regain her best form. At yesterday’s Diamond League Meeting in Brussels, she finished third in the 400m-hurdles in a time of 54.73.s. Her time is a massive improvement from last Thursday in Budapest when she 55.83s.

Nel was quite relieved afterwards, describing her performance as the confidence booster she needed.

“I needed this as it made me realise why I am running. It is to enjoy it. I am quite excited with how strong I felt towards the end of the race, but it was not a perfect race. There are still things that I need to work on to ensure that I will be at my best for the World Championships in London.”

Janieve Russell (Jamaica) won in 54.02, and Cassandra Tate (USA) was second in 54.59s.

Carina Horn (Tuks/HPC) had reason to be excited as well as disappointed over the weekend when she clocked 11.05s in the 100m at a meeting in Sotteville Les Rouen, France. It would have been a new South African record, but unfortunately, the wind from behind was blowing at 2.6 metres per second which amounted to 0.6/ms above the legal limit.

SA Track & Field: Nel leads the way for SA

Wenda Nel was in fine form on Sunday, taking third position in the 400m women's hurdles race at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in London, England.

The African champion completed the contest in 54.73, dipping under 55 seconds for the third time this year, with Janieve Russell of Jamaica securing victory in 54.02.

Elsewhere, a number of other South African athletes delivered impressive performances on the European circuit over the weekend.

Carina Horn won the 100m women's sprint in 11.05 at the European Classic Permit Meeting in Sotteville, France, clocking the fastest time of her career, though the SA record holder was aided by a +2.6m/s wind. Zarck Visser again sailed over the eight metre mark, winning the men's long jump with a leap of 8.07m.

In Kortrijk, Belgium on Saturday, Justine Palframan won the 200m women's race in a personal best of 22.84 and also secured victory in the 400m event in 52.47. Showing consistent form. The World Student Games one-lap champion had clocked a 400m season's best of 52.30 in Celle Ligure three days earlier.

The next day, Palframan went on to win the 200m race at the Brussels Grand Prix in 23.07.

Lebakeng Sesele was triumphant in the 200m men's race in Kortrijk, achieving a personal best of 20.27 seconds, becoming the sixth athlete to dip under the ASA A-standard qualifying time in the half-lap dash for the IAAF World Championships in London next month.

He also finished second in the 100m men's race in 10.20, with the benefit of a +3.2m/s wind.

Gena Lofstrand continued her breakthrough international campaign, setting another personal best to win the 800m women's race in 2:02.05, edging out Winnie Nanyondo of Uganda by 0.01 in a late sprint.

In other events at the Brussels Grand Prix, junior athlete George Kusche won the 800m men's race in 1:47.98, while Jerry Motsau clocked 3:38.11 to finish fourth in the 1 500m men's contest, achieving his fastest time in nearly three years.

Making his comeback from an anti-doping ban, Victor Hogan won the men's discus throw with a 62.69m heave to secure victory by more than 12 metres.

SA Track & Field: Zazini aims for fast time at Youth Champs

Having set a world youth record in the 400m-hurdles earlier this season, Sokwakhana Zazini is looking forward to the IAAF World Youth Championships in Nairobi (12-16 July), where all competitors' eyes will be on him.

Not many athletes relish running with a "target" on their back, but it does not phase Zazini in the slightest. For the TuksSport High School learner, it is a case of "bring it on if you can".

He makes no secret that he plans on running a speedy time at the Championships, but because of a lower back injury scare, he decided to withhold from any bold predictions.

"Just say I hope to cause quite a surprise with the time I run in Nairobi. My legs will do the talking."

Zazini has reason to be confident. His world record time of 48.84s is nearly three seconds quicker than the second-placed athlete on the IAAF's under-18 rankings. At the South African Junior and Youth Championships, he was victorious in the 400m-hurdles as well as the 400m. His best time in the longer sprint is 46.20s, which is impressive as very few of the local senior athletes have managed to run a faster time.

Zazini has only lost once in local races this season. It was over 400m at the South African Senior Championships.

He will only compete in the 400m-hurdles at the Youth Championships.

Hennie Kriel, who coaches the Tuks-athlete, said what makes Zazini such an exciting prospect is his hunger to succeed.

“I have no doubt that he can be the best since he is a quick learner. We are still working on his hurdling technique to get it to be more efficient, but he is improving all the time,” said Kriel.

If Zazini has it his way, he would prefer to keep on competing in both the hurdles and the 400m, but if forced to choose, he will focus on hurdling.

"I love the 400m-hurdles challenge as it is never just about running as fast as you can. It is the thinking man's race. One moment's lapse of concentration and it could be all over.”