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athletes' Last shot

By unknown | Jul 16, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

It's a D-Day today for South African athletes who will be all out to secure last-minute qualifying spots for the Beijing Olympics next month.

They will be attending different events in Europe in their bid to secure tickets to Beijing.

Athletics South Africa (ASA), the national governing body, has given the affected athletes until midnight today to qualify for the Olympics.

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius, who failed with his second attempt to reach the Beijing Olympics 400m qualification time at the Golden League in Italy at the weekend, is among the locals who are battling against time to get to the Olympics.

The 21-year-old is trying to clock 45,55 seconds after overturning a ban on him competing against able-bodied athletes at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May.

Pistorius, who is in action in Lucerne, Switzerland, could only manage 46,62 to finish seventh in the 400m B race, but it was a big improvement on the 47,78 he recorded with his first attempt in Milan last week.

He has qualified for the Paralympics that will also be held in Beijing in September.

Corne du Plessis, who came fifth and ninth in the 100m and 200m in Germany, is also among those who will be trying to beat the deadline tonight.

Others include Geraldine Pillay (200m), Sunette Viljoen (javelin), Janice Josephs (long jump), Ockert Cilliers (400m hurdles), Ofentse Mogawana (400m) and Hardus Pienaar (javelin).

"There will also be events in Bulgaria, Belgium and Australia where our athletes will be trying to beat the deadline for qualifications tomorrow [today]," Molatelo "Professor" Malehopo, ASA's acting general manager, told Sowetan yesterday.


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