SA runners try hard

Several South African athletes produced fine performances to try and qualify for the Olympic Games at an International Athletics Festival in Biberach, Germany on Saturday afternoon.

Several South African athletes produced fine performances to try and qualify for the Olympic Games at an International Athletics Festival in Biberach, Germany on Saturday afternoon.

Although recording their best times of the year none of Ofentse Mogawane, Leigh Julius and Pieter Smith succeeded.

Karin Mey, who achieved the required standard, but is not available to travel to Beijing, recorded the best victory of her career in the long jump.

The 25-year-old Mey, joint second on the world best performance list of 2008 with 6.93m, defeated Lyudmila Kolchanova of Russia with an excellent 13cm.

The Russian, 28, the current global leader, was also number one in 2007 and runner-up at the Osaka World Championships.

She is one of the favourites for top honours in China.

Mey, who refused to represent South Africa in Osaka last August, has decided to compete for Turkey in future.

Mogawane was an excellent winner of the 400 metres in a fast 45.67 sec, only 0.12 seconds outside the required mark to go to China for the 400 metres.

The time will supposedly get the nod of the national selectors as it will strengthen the 4x400m relay squad.

He also surprised by running in one of the 200m races and clocking 20.94 sec in fourth place, less than a metre behind African 200m champion, Thuso Mpuang (20.91 sec).

SA champion Sibusiso Sishi and Pieter Smith, the runner-up at the nationals, were both defeated by Mogawane.

Smith was second in a career best of 46.05 while Sishi clocked 46.28 in third spot.

Mogawane's time is now the fastest of the year by a South African.- Sapa

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