in peak form

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

South African athletes yesterday received praises from Athletics South Africa (ASA) for their stirring display in different events in Europe at the weekend.

Some of the athletes are competing in Europe to prepare for the Beijing Olympics in August, while others are using the events to qualify for the biggest multi-code sporting event.

This happened on the same weekend when Jamaican Usain Bolt, current 200m world championship silver medallist, smashed the 100m world record of 9,74 seconds by clocking 9,72 in New York.

Some of the local athletes who shone in Europe at the weekend include sprinter Mbulaeni "Silver Bullet" Mulaudzi, hurdler Louis "LJ" van Zyl, long jumper Khotso "Crocodile" Mokoena and discus thrower Elizna Naude.

While Mulaudzi, Van Zyl and Khotso used the weekend's events to sharpen themselves for Beijing, Naude used hers to confirm her qualification for the Olympics.

Naude showed much improved form in Dessau, Germany, on Friday when she came third with a distance of 61,79m.

Mulaudzi clocked a fast time of 1min:44,68sec in the 800m in the IAAF Golden League meeting in Berlin on Sunday.

He was narrowly beaten by Kenya's Abraham Chepkirwok who won the race in 1:44,53 but his performance will give his confidence a major boost for the rest of his European campaign.

Mokoena finished second in the long jump at the same meeting with a distance of 8,18m while Van Zyl came fourth in the 400m hurdles in 49,43.

Christian Krone did not qualify after finishing fourth in the 100 and 200. Ofentse Mogawane also failed to qualify when she came third in the 400.

Elsewhere, Juan van Deventer continued with his good form in the 1 500m, clocking 3:37,79 in Zaragosa, Spain, on Saturday.

Gerbrandt Grobler was third in the javelin with a distance of 77,04m while Geraldine Pillay clocked 24,79 in the 200m.

ASA will send their Olympic squad for an intensive training camp in Germany as they continue to prepare them for a Herculean task in Beijing. The camp runs from June 8 to July 25.

"We are very proud about the performances of our athletes. Some of our athletes did well despite the fact that they are fresh from injuries," Molatelo Malehopo, ASA's acting general manager, said yesterday.