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Sowetan aims to sparkle in final

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

BANGKOK - Sowetan Mapaseka Makhanya, a marketing student at the University of Johannesburg's Kingsway Campus, is fired-up to reach her first World Student Games final in the 800m event today in her first appearance.

The 22-year-old Makhanya, who hails from Naledi township, got her campaign in the 24th edition of the popular biennial tournament off to a promising start on Saturday night when she finished third in a time of 2minutes:09,97seconds.

Natalia Kareiva of Belarus won the fourth heat in 2:09.56. Kareiva was followed home by Olga Cristea of the Republic of Moldova who crossed the finish line in 2:09.65.

The semifinals take place tonight and the finals tomorrow evening.

"I was a bit tense before the start of the competition because I was making my debut," said a relaxed Makhanya yesterday.

"I have a clear picture of what the competition will be like after the first round on Saturday. For me the plan is to go all the way to the final and win a medal.

"Most of the big-name athletes used these Games to sharpen up for the Olympics and the World Athletics Championships," said Makhanya, who finished ninth in the final at the All Africa Games in the same event three weeks ago.

In the first heat of the 800m event, Botswana's Boikhutso Ramonene failed to qualify for the semifinals after finishing fifth in 2:16.93. The event was won by Ukrainean Yliya Krevsun in 2:09.38, with Daphney Nokuthula Khumalo of Swaziland sixth in 2:28.13, which is a personal best.

South African Mthobisi Baloyi bombed out in the first round after clocking 1:51.87 to finish fourth in the men's heat four, which was won by Russian Yury Koldin in 1:50.81. Namibian Johannes Shipopyeni was seventh in heat two in 2:00.70.

In the women's half-marathon on Saturday morning, Helalia Jones of Namibia was fifth in a time of 1 hour: 16 minutes and 55 seconds. It was won by Kim Kum Ok of the Republic of Korea in 1:12.31. The other Namibian, Beata Nambo, was 10th in 1:21.09.

Team South Africa won a silver medal in athletics in the 4 x 100m relay on Thursday night. The team, which clocked 39.20secs, consisted of Leigh Julius, Johannes Dreyer, Hendrick Kotze and Snyman Prinsloo.

Thailand won gold in 39.15 and China bronze in 39.30.

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