Olympics 2012

Good day for SA athletics

2012-08-09 09:03
Willem Coertzen (File)

London - South Africa experienced a superb evening in the track and field at the London Olympic Games on Wednesday.

Two of the country's Olympic debutants sprang surprises as they progressed to the finals of their respective events.

Sprinter Anaso Jobodwana produced a fine performance in the 200m semi-final, finishing second behind world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica, with a personal best of 20.27 seconds.

Jobodwana, studying at Jackson State University, Mississippi, in the United States, said running against Bolt gave him the extra motivation.

The South African's time was the sixth fastest of the three heats with Bolt's time of 20.18 the fifth fastest.

South Africa's 110m hurdler Lehann Fourie qualified for the final in his specialist event when he came painstakingly close to breaking Shaun Bownes's 11-year-old SA record of 13.26 seconds, in the semi-final.

He finished in third place with a personal best time of 13.28 seconds after he clipped three hurdles on his way to the finish line.

The 25-year-old scraped through to the final, which took place less than two hours later, by virtue of being the second fastest loser.

He was unable to repeat this earlier performance, however, and clocked 13.53 to finish seventh in the final.

"I told myself before the semi-final that I had 13 seconds to change my life," Fourie said.

"In 13 seconds you can really write your destiny and I was literally running as if it was my last race."

Twenty-year-old Jobodwana booked a place in the 200m men's final on Thursday, where he will, once again, line-up against Bolt.

"I didn't expect it - I was just going out there to run a personal best," Jobodwana said.

"So I got that and I got to the final - so it is a bonus."

South African decathlete Willem Coertzen was slightly off the pace, lying in 11th place with a score of 4 142 at the close of the first day of the competition.

He did well to claw his way up the rankings as he was in 21st place after the 100m event, the long jump and the shot put.

Coertzen then equalled his best height in the high jump, with a leap of 2.05 metres and went on to record a personal best in the 400m of 48.56.

He is well placed for Thursday where he will compete in his stronger half of the decathlon - 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1 500m.

Meanwhile, in the morning session of the athletics Caster Semenya advanced to Thursday's semi-final of the 800m race.

She crossed the line in second place in 2:00.71.

BMX ace Sifiso Nhlapo made the first, albeit nervous, appearance on Wednesday, posting the second slowest time in the seeding run with the true competition only beginning on Thursday.

"It was not the start I wanted but I regained my composure," Nhlapo said.

"It's not really good time but I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow."

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  athletics

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