Ruben Ramolefi in Stellenbosch (Mark Ouma) © Copyright
General News Stellenbosch, South Africa

Wind and chill takes its toll in Stellenbosch

National champions Ruben Ramolefi, Rene Kalmer, and Cornel Fredericks braved the weather conditions to win their respective events at the Yellow Pages Series meet in Stellenbosch on Tuesday (30).

A warm and sunny afternoon suddenly gave way to gusty and chilly wind in the early evening. The sudden change of weather dampened the hopes of several athletes hoping to qualify for the Africa Senior Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Technical workout for Ramolefi

Ramolefi seemed unperturbed by the chilly wind when he surged to the front right from the starter’s gun. Only Edwin Molepo stayed in contact with him until 2000 metres, before he began to fade rapidly. Ramolefi covered the distance in a decent 8:35.63.

“After the first three laps I realised it would be hard to run a fast time as I had planned because of the chilly headwind,” Ramolefi said. “So I focused on polishing up my hurdling technique. In particularly I wanted to clear my last two water jumps well as I have lost valuable time there.”

“A sub 8:40 in these weather condition is good. I think I will improve my national record (8:11.63) sometime this year,” Ramolefi asserted.

Buoyed by her 5000m and 1500m victories at the national championships last week Kalmer came to the Stellenbosch meet convinced she could break the 4:08.42 Commonwealth Games 1500m qualifier. However, like many other athletes she had to be content with her 4:17.58 run.

“It was not just the wind on the home straight that bothered me,” Kalmer said. “As you entered the back straight the chill hits us from the side. It is so uncomfortable especially to the ears. Anyway I will now go back to build endurance and weight for the European outdoor circuit.”

Spurred on by a partisan crowd Cornel Fredericks gave the Stellenbosch fans something to cheer in 400m Hurdles. Starting out cautiously Fredericks made his move on the back straight. The fans erupted in celebration as he surged past Wouter le Roux on the ninth hurdle and held on to win in 50.78, to Le Roux’s 51.95.

Mark Ouma for the IAAF

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