Although skipping some events defending champions Terry Wepener and Janice Josephs retained their Decathlon and Heptathlon titles at the South Africa Combined Events Championship at the Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellenbosch which ended yesterday.
Intermittent rain for most of the second day of competition put a damper on any senior record attempts. The weather conditions saw some athlete either skipping certain events or withdrawing from the competition altogether.
Algerian Mourad Souissi and Soris Joubert of South Africa were early casualties calling it a day after the Discus Throw and High Jump respectively. Wepener opted out of the Pole Vault while Thierry Guillaume of Mauritius skipped the Discus.
Despite the wet conditions most athletes soldiered on to complete the energy-sapping ten event discipline. Wepener amassed 6666 points. Egypt’s Ahmed Saad (6495) was runner up ahead of Ali Kame of Madagascar (5974). South African Dean Clarke (5160) was the only junior athlete in the contest.
The field was reduced to a duel between defending champion Janice Joseph and youthful Mariska Meintjies after Louis Dreyer and Inge Meyer withdrew from the competition.
Josephs briefly surrendered the lead when she skipped the High Jump. However she rallied on the second day to reassert her dominance to win with 5099 points to Meintjies’ 4318.
The future of combined events in South Africa looked more promising. Both events attracted competitors who stoically kept going even during driving rain. Willem le Roux topped the youth men’s octathlon contest with new South African record of 5588 points. The old record stood at 5506. Bianca Erwee prevailed in the junior women’s Heptathlon with 4259 points.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
1 Terry Wepener (South Africa) 6666 points
2 Ahmed Saad (Egypt) 6495
3 Ali Kame (Madagascar) 5976
1 Willem le Roux 5588 Points (National Record)
2 Dewald Pieters 5321
3 Gert Swanepoel 5007
1 Janice Josephs 5099 points
2 Mariska Meintjies 4318
1 Bianca Erwee 4259 points
2 Kim Ludick 4132
3 Hanlie Kotze 3888