07 MAR 2009 General News

Heidler nails 74.25m Hammer Throw world leader, teen Semenya impresses in Germiston

Caster Semenya in Germiston (Mark Ouma)Caster Semenya in Germiston (Mark Ouma) © Copyright

Germiston (Ekurhuleni), South AfricaGermany’s World Hammer Throw champion Betty Heidler stole the limelight at the Yellow Pages Series Meet at Germiston in Ekurhuleni, South Africa on Friday (06) night.

This final meet of the six leg Yellow Pages series stands out for the number of athletes who achieved the World Championships B qualifying standard and sets the stage for the South Africa Senior National Championship next weekend. It is the last opportunity on the domestic scene to achieve the more stringent World Championships A qualifying standard.

74.25m world lead for Heidler

Heidler clinched victory in the women’s Hammer Throw with a world leading 74.25m. The level of competition was such that her compatriot Kathrin Klaas (73.34) also achieved the World Championships A standard qualifier. Andrea Bunjes (68.32), was inside the B Standard.

“My objective returning to South Africa during the European winter was to get the whole business of qualifying for the World championship out of the way,” Heidler said. “I was not convinced with the 67m I throw in the snowy condition last month.”

“Although I reside in Frankfurt, Berlin is my hometown. Therefore the world championship is going to be very special to me. I want to win the gold medal again. This time before my own home crowd.”

800m thrillers – Semenya new teen 800m sensation?

On the track aggressive front running in both the men’s and women’s 800m races was key not just for victory but also achieving the World Championships B qualifier. Mbualeni Mulaudzi prevailed in the men’s contest covering the distance in 1:45.65.

“I had to take control of the race if I was to run a fast time in my first 800m of the season,” Mulaudzi explained. “After competing in the 1500m in the previous three meets, I banked on endurance to achieve my goal. I have not begun basic speed work. So this could be a successful season.”

Meanwhile in the women’s contest, 18-year-old new-find Caster Semenya improved her lifetime best from last week in Stellenbosch by over three seconds with a winning time of 2:00.58. This is the fastest time by a South African since 1983. She ranks fourth on South Africa’s all-time list.
 
“I just followed my coach’s (Michael Seme) advice. He told me to run my own race and I am basically a front runner. My goal is to make an international impact.  Maybe the Africa Junior Championships (in Equatorial Guinea in July) will be a good platform to do that,” said a confident Semenya.

Sprinters sparkle

Zimbabwean Talkmore Nyongani held off a spirited challenge on the home straight from his training partner Pieter Smith to win the 400m. Nyongani clocked 45.75 while Smith improved his personal best by a tenth of a second to 45.86.

“Although I did not make the World Championships A standard this time is decent. It should earn me invitations to various African International meets in the coming months. I want to do well here in Africa before competing in Europe,” said Nyongani.

In the shorter sprints Stephane Buckland pulled a double clocking 10.41(100m) and 20.60 (200m). Africa women’s 200m champion Isabel le Roux (23.11) prevailed in the 200m ahead of Tsholofelo Thipe (23.30). While Thipe improved her 100m career best by 0.10 to 11.40.

Other notable performances came from long jumper Khotso Mokoena (8.10m), while Louis van Zyl (49.68) and Malaysia Norasella Mohd Khalid (56.97) emerged winners in the men’s and women’s 400m Hurdles. South Africa (39.59) edged Mauritius (39.72) in the 4x100m relay

Mark Ouma for the IAAF

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