By Mark Ouma
South Africas Wendy Hartman stormed to victory in the womens 100m and 200m at the first ABSA track and field Athletics meeting held at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Plagued by a series of hamstring injuries that kept her out of competition for more than a year, Hartman has bounced back in style. In events dominated by South Africans, her winning times of 11.29 and 22.92 seconds in the 100m and 200m respectively are not only personal bests in both events but also well inside the qualifying times for the World Championships that will be held in Seville, Spain in August.
Hartmans perennial rival Heide Seyerling was second in both events with times of 11.51 and 23.00. Marliese Steyn (11.66) was third in the 100m, while Susanna Johansson (23.59) was third in the 200m.
Hungarian Judit Szekeres was in a class of her own when she won the womens 400m in 52.46. South Africa Surita Febrraio was second in 53.55 while Belgiums Sandra Stall was third in 53.79.
World Championships silver medallist Llewellyn Herbert signaled his return to form with a convincing 49.52 victory in the mens 400m hurdles. Herbert confirmed that he had fully recovered from a sinus infection that forced him to pull out of the South African team to last years Commonwealth Games.
Eastern European women outclassed the opponents in several field events. Gundega Sproge (Latvia) won the womens triple jump in 14.23, with Virge Naeris (Estonia) finishing runner up in 13.21. Valentina Gotovska won the long jump with a leap of 6.36. Russias Nikola Tomeckova of the Czech Republic won the newly modified javelin in 60.16m.
Several young athletes were surprise winners. Malcolm Hendriks cleared 2.20 metres to finish ahead of two former South Africa record holders, Casper Labuschagne (1.90) and Gavin Lendis (2.10).
Little known Morne Nagel (South Africa) edged his more established countrymen matthew Quinn and Marcus la Grange to win the closely contested mens 100. Nagel clocked 10.44 to Quinns 10.50 and la Granges 10.52.
Jopie van Oudtshoorn (South Africa) maintains his winning form with a personal best of 45.57 in the mens 400m. Fellow countryman Adriaan Botha was second in 45.80 ahead of Jan Popdebradsky (46.58) of Slovakia.
Belgiums Erik Wijmeersch was a clear winner in the 200m with a time of 20.86. Martin Morkes (Czech Republic) was runner up in 21.11 ahead of South Africas Gareth Foster who clocked 21.16.
Absa Track and Field Athletics Series Meeting, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein.
Note all athletes are South African except where mentioned.
100m:1. Morne Nagel 10.44, 2. Matthew Quinn 10.50, 3. Marcus la Grange 10.52, 200m 1. Erik Wijmeersch (Belgium) 20.86, 2. Martin Morkes (Czech Republic) 21.11, 3. Gareth Foster 21.16, 400m: 1. Jopie van Oudtshoorn 45.57, 2. Adiaan Botha 45.80, 3. Jan Podebradsky (Czech Republic) 46.58, 110m Hurdles: 1. Shaun Bownes 13.68, 2. Igor Kovac (Slovakia) 13.78, 3. Marcus la Grange 13.83, 400m hurdles: 1.Llewellyn Herbert 49.52, 2. Hennie Botha 50.29, 3. Mario Toerien 50.73, 800m: 1. Johan Botha 1.47.41, 2. Jurgen Kotze 1.48.29, 3. Meyer Kotze 1.48.74, 3000m: 1. Enoch Skosana 8.13.69, 2. Aaron Gabonewe 8.15.36, 3. Alister Cragg 8.17.07, Long Jump: 1. Felix Coetzee 7.51, 2. Erik Nijs (Belgium) 7.47, Tiaan Pretorius 6.50, High Jump: 1. Malcom Hendrik 2.20, 2. Fana Mtshatheni 2.15, 3. Daniel Kuhn 2.15, Discus: Frantz Kruger 62.91, 2. Alexandr Borischovski (Russia) 60.86, 3. Martin Swart 59.59, Shot Put: 1. Burger Lambrechts 19.80, 2. Cor Booysen 19.00, 3. Karel Potgieter 18.57.
100m 1.Wendy Hartman 11.29, 2. Heide Seyerling 11.51, 3. Marliese Steyn 11.66, 200m:1. Wendy Hartman 22.92, 2. Heide Seyerling 23.00, 3. Susanna Johansson 23.59, 400m: Judit Szekeres (Hungary) 52.46, 2. Surita Febbraio 53.55, 3.Sandra Stals (Belgium) 53.79, 800m:1. Mari-Louise Henning 2.02.13, 2. Lwiza John (Tanzania) 2.03.02, 3. Julia Sakara (Zimbabwe) 2.03.96, Javelin: 1. Nikola Tomeckova (Czech Republic) 60.16, 2. Liezel Roux 50.19, 3. Rhona Dwinger 49.91, Long Jump: 1. valentina Gotovska (Latvia) 6.36, 2. Cahrmaine Barnard 6.16, 3. Liezel Heyneke 6.10Triple Jump: 1. Gundega Sproge (Latvia) 14.23, 2. Virge Naeeeeeris (Estonia) 13.21, 3. Charmaine Barnard 13.14, Shot Put:1.Veronica Abrahamse 15.65, 2. Maranelle du Toit 15.51, 3. Lezelle Jooste 13.87,