Germany’s World Hammer Throw champion Betty Heidler threw 72.91m at the Yellow Pages Series meeting staged at the High Performance Centre in South Africa’s capital Tshwane.
This sixth and final meet of the series saw Cheyne Rahme set a national youth record in the Pole Vault, while a host of other athletes qualified for the World Junior Championships. The men’s 400m Hurdles provided the other day’s thriller.
Betty Heidler (72.91m) fifth round effort was her finest. Clearly in a rich vein of form, the rest of Heidler’s series was also impressive: 71.40, 71.80, 71.98, and 72.14 were well within the Olympics qualifier. Her compatriot Andrea Bunjes (66.15) and Kristin Seinert (61.28) took the minor position.
“Our training camp at High performance Centre has been a success. We came out her to benefit from the warm weather condition. As a world champion, a lot is expected of me at the Beijing Olympics. Hopefully I will improve my career best of 76.56 sometime this year,” says Heidler.
South Africa’s Chris Harmse (76.25m) was a clear beneficiary of the German presence in the men’s Hammer Throw contest. Germany’s Jan Ratzekrantz (75.00) and Marcus Kahlmeyer (71.20) gave him his best competition of the year.
”I have improved my best this season by over two metres simply because I had some serious competition. Now I am much more confident that the Olympic A standard qualifier is within reach,” said Harmse.
The 400m hurdlers set of at a fast pace with Ter De Villiers, Alwyn Myburgh and Ockert Cilliers entering the home straight practically together. De Villiers (49.01) eventually edged Myburgh (49.02) in a photo finish. Cilliers (49.41) was third. “It is always good to have strong competition. That is the way we are going to lower our times,” says De Villiers.
“It felt great through the first five hurdles. I stumbled on the sixth hurdle and cost me this race. Nonetheless I am satisfied and expect a sub 49 seconds at the national championship next week,” Myburgh predicted.
On the infield 17-year-old Cheyne Rahme improved his national youth pole vault record by five centimetres with a clearance of 5.15. “I have a new pole. With more practice, I expect to vault much high at the national championships next week,” Rahme revealed.
Meanwhile, Orazio Cremora (20.19) and Stephen Brink (18.66) qualified for the World Junior championship in the Shot Put. Cremora (49.37) later joined Victor Hogan (59.55) and Dewald van Heerden (52.52) in qualifying for the Discus Throw at the World Juniors. Andre Olivier made the grade in the 400m with a lifetime best of 46.95.
Long distance runner Stephen Mokoka surged to the lead half through the men’s 3000m. He held off the spirited challenge from Siyabonga Nkonde to win the race in 7:59.82. Nkonde (8:04.90). Besides improving his lifetime best by over 16 seconds, Mokoka is the first South African to run a sub-eight minutes in this event since 1998. Such was the pace that the next seven runners all set their lifetime best.
“This was a real speed test for me,” said Mokoka. “I have my sights set on qualifying for the Olympics in the 10,000m. After missing this target at the trial in Port Elizabeth last month, I am determined to make the grade at the national championships in Stellenbosch next week.”
Sprinter Hannes Dreyer continued his domination of the men’s 100m (10.47) and 200m (20.80). Other notable performances came from shot putter Janus Robberts (19.15), Janet Wienand 57.22 in women’s 400m Hurdles and 800m runners Werner Botha (1:46.91) and Mozambique’s Tina Paulino (2:06.28).
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
Click here for FULL RESULTS
1 Ter de Villiers 49.01 OLY A;
1 Cheyne Rahme 5.15
Shot Put (Junior)
1 Orazio Cremora 20.19
1 Victor Hogan 59.55 WJC
1 Chris Harmse 76.25
1 Robert Oosthuizen 77.99
100m A (-1.3)
1 Tsholofelo Thipe 11.57
1 Isabel le Roux 23.49
1 Janet Wienand 57.22;
1 Betty Heidler (Germany) 72.91 OLY A