Praise for athletes

LEONARD CHUENE, the president of Athletics South Africa, yesterday congratulated the South African athletes who took part in the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, and the 25th World Student Games in Belgrade, Serbia, for their their achievements.

LEONARD CHUENE, the president of Athletics South Africa, yesterday congratulated the South African athletes who took part in the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, and the 25th World Student Games in Belgrade, Serbia, for their their achievements.

"The level of competition in Bressanone was of a very high standard. Our athletes performed well and represented their country with pride," said an excited Chuene.

"We are not only proud of the silver and bronze medals that they brought home but also of the large number of athletes who progressed to the semifinals and finals in their respective events.

"We once again invite corporate South Africa to have a fresh look at opportunities created by our sport. Special congratulations go to Sunette Viljoen for setting the new SA record in the javelin. It is gratifying to see her achieving these good performances, and we hope she will take the form to Berlin and bring us a medal.

"We are also humbled by the South African athletes' performances at the World Universiade (in Belgrade) who won eight medals and brought glory to the country. These achievements confirm our belief that our sport deserves more funding than what it is getting, as the leading federation in South Africa."

Meanwhile, South African hurdler Louis "LJ" van Zyl warned the global kingpins of the 400m hurdles in Greece on Monday that he will be more than just a factor at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin next month.

Running a brilliant race, he finished second behind Isa Phillips of Jamaica (48,09 sec), in 48,18 sec, his fastest time of the year and missing out by a mere 0,02 on his best-ever time. Coach Nico van Heerden was a very happy man.

"We have a few small things to work on but I am satisfied with the progress made and I am confident that we can expect something special from LJ," he said. - Sapa

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