Roodeport, South AfricaPutting aside their disappointments at the World Indoor Championships, Joseph Mutua (Kenya), Chris Brown (Bahamas), and Shaun Crawford (USA), made impressive starts to their outdoor season at the Engen Summer series in the Ruimsig Stadium yesterday (28 March).
Shawn Crawford (USA) never looked threatened as he powered his way to victory in the 100m in 10.10. South Africa’s Sherwin Vries sliced 0.02 off his career best on his way to finishing second in 10.23, while Morne Nagel (South Africa was third in 10.34.
Crawford had been disqualified in Birmingham at the recent World Indoors for running outside his lane, so ending his hopes of defending his World Indoor 200m title. Therefore the American’s victory here was very much a matter of getting his competitive programme immediately back on the right track.
Leading from the start Mutua covered the first lap of the men’s 800m in 51.5 seconds. He held off a a sustained challenge from compatriot William Yampoi to win the race. Mutua clocked 1.44.90 to Yampoi’s 1:45.01.
“I was disappointed in Birmingham. Consequently, I have changed tactics. From now on I will try and lead from the front and not play catch-up in the last 200 metres of a race,” said the winner.
“There where no pace makers in the race so I decided to stay upfront. These days there are so many budding 800 metres runners, its risky taking chances,” said Yampoi.
However, the main beneficiary of Mutua and Yampoi’s pace was the third placed South African schoolboy Bonolo Maboa. The 17-year-old improved his career best by nearly two seconds to 1:46.25. He is the third fastest junior that South Africa has ever produced.
The men’s 400m featured a contrasting race pattern between the winner Chris Brown (Bahamas) and Marcus la Grange (South Africa). As usual La Grange surged ahead, covering the 300 metres in less than 32 seconds, before beginning to fizzle. In contrast Brown, who was drawn in lane seven ran conservatively over the first 250m before turning on the heat.
This paid off as he improved his personal best by 0.14 with a winning time of 44.94. African champion Eric Milazar (Mauritius) was runner up with a 45.18 effort, while La Grange (45.29), barely held off compatriot Paul Gorris (45.30) to take third place.
“It is great to break the 45 seconds barriers. I guess I will now be treated with a bit of respect in the United States,” said a delighted Brown who is based in Norfolk, Virginia in the American South.
Stepping out of the shadow of Olympic bronze medallist Llewellyn Herbert, Ockert Cilliers won the 400 metres Hurdles and in the process bettered his personal best by 0.38 to 48.92. Runner up Marnus Kritzinger (49.14) bettered his best by 0.43. Third placed Herbert (49.62) clocked his fastest time of the season, as did fourth placed Alwyn Myburgh (49.64).
“It is such a relief to achieve Athletics South Africa’s stringent qualifying mark (49.00) for the World Championships. The pressure is now on the others to qualify,” said Cilliers.
Olympic Discus champion Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) started his season on a winning note with a 64.62m effort. Estonian Aleksander Tammert (62.99) was second, ahead of Hungarian Roland Varga (69.49). While Olympic bronze medallist Frantz Kruger, was fourth with a below par 59.42.
Stanislavs Olijar (Latvia) comfortably won the 110m Hurdles (13.26) after his main rival Shaun Bownes (South Africa) suffered a muscle cramp. In the Pole Vault, Germany’s Tim Lobinger (5.70) outclassed South Africa’s Okkert Brits (5.50) and Holland’s Lauren Looije (5.40).
Bouncing back from an Achillies tendon injury, South Africa’s Commonwealth Games 800 metres champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (2:18.45) won the 1000m in convincing style. In his first race this season he improved his personal best by 0.68.
He was followed by three South Africans who each set personal bests. They where Juan van Deventer (2:19.38), Graham Davidson (2:19.41), Johan Pretorius (2:19.51). Olympic 800 finalist, Glody Dube (Botswana) was fifth in 2.19.53
World Champion Hestrie Cloete (South Africa) and Iryna Michalchenko (Ukraine) each cleared the women’s High Jump bar at 1.95m. However, Cloete carried the day on count back. Kazhakstan’s Svetlana Zalevskaya was a distant third (1.80).
After a three years absence, any doubt that Frank Fredericks (Namibia) is still the most popular athlete in South Africa was drowned by the cheers from spectators when he stepped onto the track for the men’s 200m. Getting down to business, he comfortably won the race in 20.40. South Africa’s rising star Clinton Venter was runner up in a personal best of 20.45, ahead of his training partner Morne Nagel (20.48).
Debbie Ferguson (Bahamas) won the women’s 100 in 11.29. Second placed Geraldine Pillay clocked a personal best of 11.45 ahead of her compatriot Janice Josephs (11.46). Pillay went on to set a peronal best of 23.31 in the 200m where she was second to Natalya Safronnikova of Belarus ( 23.15).
In one of the most thrilling women’s 800m races in recent years, South Africa’s Lisa van der Merwe set a personal best (2:04.18) on her way to a hard fought victory over Mozambique’s Leonor Piuza (2:04.22). South Africans Rene Kalmer (2:04.54) and Marlene Breytenbach (2:04.66) followed in that order.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
Note: All athletes are South Africans unless otherwise mentioned. SR denotes series record NR denotes national record AR denotes Africa record PB denotes personals best
100m A (-0.4)
1 Shawn Crawford (USA) 10.10
2 Sherwin Vries 10.23 PB
3 Morne Nagel 10.34
100m B (+0.8)
1 Joseph van der Linde 10.58
2 Emile Brits 10.60
3 Ahmed Badar (Qatar) 10.63
100m C (0.0)
1 Lance Dickson 10.70
2 S Suleiman Hamas (Qatar) 10.73
3 Saad Safiani (Qatar) 10.90
200m A (0.0)
1 Frank Fredericks (Namibia) 20.40
2 Clinton Venter 20.45 PB
3 Morne Nagel 20.48
1 Chris Brown (Bahamas) 44.94 PB
2 Eric Milazar (Mauritius) 45.18
3 Marcus la Grange 45.29
1 FernandoAugustin (Mauritius) 47.05
2 Adriaan Botha 47.88
3 Gerrit woest 48.16
110m Hurdles (0.0)
1 Stanislavs Olijar (Latvia) 13.26
2 Frikkie van Zyl 14.01
3 Ryan Dowling 14.23
400m Hurdles A
1 Ockert Cillier 48.92 PB
2 Marus Kritzinger 49.14 PB
3 Llewellyn Herbert 49.62
4 Alwyn Myburg 49.64
400m Hurdles B
1 Marcel Lupochovsky (Slovakia) 50.25
2 Dieter Viljoen 51.39
3 Henk Meyer 51.92
1 Joseph Mutua 1:44.90
2 William Yampoi 1:45.01
3 Bonolo Maboa 1:46.25 PB
1 Mbulaeni Mulaudzi 2:18.45 PB
2 Juan van Deventer 2:19.38 PB
3 Graham Davidson 2:19.41 PB
4 Johan Pretorius 2:19.51 PB
5 Glody Dube (Botswana) 2:19.53
1 Tim Lobinger (Germany) 5.70
2 Okkert Brits 5.50
3 Lauren Looije 5.40
1 Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) 64.62
2 Aleksander Tammert (Estonia) 62.99
3 Roland Varga (Hungary) 69.49
1 Rolie Potgieter 18.04
2 John Sullivan 17.50
3 Jaroslav Zitnansky (Slovakia) 17.43
1 Chris Harmse 77.99
2 Nicola Vizzoni (Italy) 74.91
3 Mohammed Faraj (Qatar) 68.86
1 Debbie Ferguson (Bahamas) 11.29
2 Geraldine Pillay 11.45 PB
3 Janice Josephs 11.46
1 Natalya Safronnikova (Belarus) 23.15
2 Geraldine Pillay 23.31 PB
3 Winnet Bude (Zimbabwe) 23.91
4 Makaridja Sanganoko (Ivory Coast) 24.00
1 Heide Seyerling 51.69
2 Estie Wittstock 52.06
3 Antonina Yefremova 52.35
100m Hurdles (0.0)
1 Carla Fick 14.21
2 Sune Labuschagne 14.27
3 Siska Botha 14.34
1 Surita Febbraio 54.85
2 Yvonne Harrison (Puerto Rico) 56.21
3 Andrea Blackett (Barbados) 56.68
1 Lisa van der Merwe 2:04.18 PB
2 Leonor Piuza (Mozambique) 2:04.22
3 Rene Kalmer 2:04.54
4 Marlene Breytenbach 2:04.66
1 Karin Mey 6.07 (+0.2)
2 Delia Visser 5.92 (-0.3)
3 Margaret Simpson (Ghana) 5.87 (0.0)
1 Hestrie Cloete 1.95
2 Iryna Michalchenko (Ukraine) 1.95
3 Svetlana Zalevskaya (Kazhakstan) 1.80
1 Veronica Abrahamse 17.18
2 Maranelle du Toit 16.81
3 Liga Klavina 13.64
1 Mia Strommer (Finland) 65.52
2 Elmarie Knoetzen 54.53
3 Melissa Scoprayen (Mauritius) 41.88