Pretorius notches easiest triumph at meet

Marcoleen Pretorius, the 18-year-old Vaal Triangle high jumper, brought South Africa's gold medal tally to four on the penultimate day of the 8th African Junior Athletics Championships in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Saturday.

Marcoleen Pretorius, the 18-year-old Vaal Triangle high jumper, brought South Africa's gold medal tally to four on the penultimate day of the 8th African Junior Athletics Championships in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Saturday.

It was probably also the easiest victory of any event at the four-day meeting because Pretorius only required one jump to make sure of the gold medal.

By the time she entered the contest at a height of 1,70m, all the other contestants had already been eliminated. Pretorius then sealed her win with a first time clearance of 1,75m, before recording three failures at 1,80m.

She set a personal best of 1,89m at the national schools championships in Port Elizabeth. The SA team found medals extremely hard to come by although the 100m winner, Constance Mkenku, seemed to have a reasonable chance to add the 200m crown to her selection.

Clocking 24,45sec in the first round, she recorded the fastest time of the heats. Kagisho Kumbane, a schoolmate of Mkenku in Bloemfontein, and the second SA 200m entrant, Rapula Sefanyetso, both advanced to Sunday's final.

Kumbane finished third in his semifinal in 21,89sec while Sefanyetso, who achieved fourth place in the 400m, won the second semi in 21,43sec, only 0,06sec outside his career best.

Andre Olivier and Warren Hendricks both reached the final of the 800 metres in fine style. Kempton Park's Olivier, who won a medal at the senior SA Championships this year, is one of 2007's new stars.

Running in the strongest heat, he clocked 1min 48,99sec in fourth place. Kenyan David Rudisha won the race in 1min 48,09sec, the fastest of the heats. Olivier has a best time of 1min 47,92sec, which he set at the national schools meeting in March. Hendricks won the other race in 1min 50,07sec. - Sapa

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