Harare provides Southern African preview for Bydgoszcz
11 June 2008 - Harare, Zimbabwe - Comprehensive wins by South Africans Orazio Cremora (Shot Put) and Tazmin Brits (Javelin Throw) at the Southern regional championships in Zimbabwe last weekend confirmed their medal winning potential at next month’s World Junior Championships.
Athletes from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and hosts Zimbabwe converged at the University of Zimbabwe’s track at Mount Pleasant in Harare to fine tune their competitive fitness before they proceed to Bydgoszcz, Poland, to face even stiffer competition on the global stage.
Men Shot Put -
Cremora confirmed his medal contender status with a heave of 20.05m in the men’s Shot Put. His compatriot Stefan Brink (18.45m) was also inside the qualifier. “This is an encouraging performance given that we have not competed since out nationals championships almost two month ago,” says Cremora.
He certainly aims to improve on his lifetime best of 20.19m achieved earlier in the year. “My aim is to get over 21m in Poland. This is my last chance to compete at the World Junior Championships and I want to leave a lasting impression,” Cremora declared.
Women’s Javelin -
Elsewhere on the infield Tazmin Brits was in her element comfortably winning the Javelin contest in 55.75m. The World Youth Champion unfazed by the thought of this being well short of the national record (57.55m) she set at the national championships in April.
“I did not expect to throw so far at our national championships. A week to the national championships the javelin I was used to was consumed in the fire at our student dormitory (at the University of the North West in Potchefstroom South Africa ),” says Brits.
With a sentimental touch she continued, “I dearly miss the javelin I used to win at the World Youth Championships which was also destroyed. So I was surprised to improve my best at the national championships with an unfamiliar implement. Now I have acquired a new set of javelins and there is enough time to get used to them before Poland. I am positive that I will surpass the 60 metre mark,” Brits declared with a broad smile.
South Africa’s strong presence in Poland will be in field events. This is confirmed by the winning efforts of men’s and women’s High Jump winners Willem Voigt (2.16m) and Marcoleen Pretorius (1.86m). Others are triple jumpers Riaan Arendse (15.84m) and Boipelo Motlhatlhego (15.23m), javelin thrower Bernard Crous (66.83m), and discus thrower Victor Hogan (57.57m).
Men’s Sprints -
The men’s 400m was perhaps the closest fought event on the track. Competing from the eighth lane Botswana’s Africa Junior championships finalists Pako Seriba (47.72) carried the day. He was followed by his team mate Batsholewang (48.04) and Zambians Davis Soko (48.42) and Savior Kombe (49.53), and Zimbabwean Michael Taapatsa (49.83).
“I am confident I can better my personal best of 46.91 this year. Winning this race from the outside lane gives me the confidence that my dream is possible regardless of which lane I compete in come Poland. My prime goal there will be to advance to the finals. Then plan on a sub 46 seconds final,” says Seriba.
Zambia’s Rebecca Nachula (53.81) the clear winner in the women’s one lap race has bigger ideas. She aims to finish next to her twin sister Rachel whose 51.39 effort at the Africa Senior Championships in Addis Ababa Ethiopia last month earned her a national record and a place on the team to the Beijing Olympics. “There is nothing that will please me more than Rachel and I winning Zambia’s first ever medals at the world Junior Championships,” Rebecca admits.
Another likely medallists in Poland is South Africa’s All Africa Games 100m silver medallist Nombulelo Mkenku who prevailed in the 100m (11.77) and 200m (23.62). More medals could come through Africa’s Junior championships 1500m bronze medallist Dumisani Hlaselo who comfortably won the 1500 (3:48.13) and was runner up in 800 behind Andre Olivier (1:48.89).
Perhaps the region’s best bet for a gold medal in a track event in Poland is in the 4x100m relay. A solid 40.12 effort Johannes Mosala, Roscoe Engel, Patrick Vosloo and Wilhelm van der Vyver saw them improve the South Africa junior record from 40.26 set in 1994. So intense was the competition that the Zimbabwean team who clinched the silver medal also set a nationals record in 41.78.
Meanwhile Botswana’s growing stature in 400m was further reinforced at this championship. Their junior men’s (3:09.72) and women’s (3:56.68) 4x400m relay teams clinched gold medals in convincing style.
By an IAAF correspondent