jostling for china

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

A number of South African athletes are expected to compete in the Eastern Province track and field championships in Port Elizabeth tomorrow hoping to qualify for the 10000m event for the Beijing Olympics.

The Olympics 10000m A-qualifying standard for men is 27min:50sec and the B-standard is 28:10.

For the women's race the A-qualifying standard is 31:45 and the B-standard is 32:20.

"Eastern Province Athletics has agreed to allow athletes from other provinces to compete at their provincial championships in Port Elizabeth tomorrow in the 10000m.

"Only athletes who achieve the A-qualifying standard will be considered for the team for the Olympics in August," said Athletics South Africa (ASA's) development manager, Molatelo "Professor" Malehopo.

Some top South African athletes have a tendency to speed to their best on the track at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Hendrick Ramaala, of Central Gauteng Athletics, set the current national record of 27:29,94 at this venue in 1999.

Meck Mothuli , of Athletics Free State, set the national Under-23 and junior records at this venue in 1993.

"Since this will be the first major 10000m race of the year, we encourage our long-distance runners with Olympic ambitions in this event to seize this opportunity," said Malehopo.

Elsewhere, Limpopo Athletics will host their track and field senior championships at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.

The event will culminate in the selection of a provincial squad for the national senior track and field championships.

This chamiponships will be held in Stellenbosch in Western Cape on March 14 and 15.