SA athletes warm up for championships

THE South African athletes training in Neubrandenburg, Germany, for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics had their last competitions at the weekend and then concentrated on fine-tuning their preparations before moving into the Athletes Village in Berlin yesterday.

THE South African athletes training in Neubrandenburg, Germany, for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics had their last competitions at the weekend and then concentrated on fine-tuning their preparations before moving into the Athletes Village in Berlin yesterday.

Sunette Viljoen had a timely boost for the championships at the international meeting in Cottbus when she convincingly defeated one of Germany's hopefuls for a gold medal, Steffi Nerius, in the javelin.

Viljoen took the lead in the competition in the second round with a throw of 63,02m and weathered Nerius's attempts to catch her.

Nerius, who has won many competitions by producing a winning last throw, this time fell short when she landed the javelin at 62,21m.

Another highlight for the South African team was the performance of Janice Josephs in the long jump.

Josephs has been suffering with an injury but came out fighting, recording a morale-boosting distance of 6,45m.

She also had jumps of 6,30m and 6,37m to finish in fourth place.

Also at the Cottbus meeting, Ofentse Mogawane impressed with a time of 20,98sec in the 200m. Other good times were recorded by Thuso Mpuang (21,50), Jacob Ramakoka (21,64), Sibusiso Sishi (21,83), Paul Gorries (22,05) and Pieter Smith (24,10). Isabel le Roux came home in the 100m in 11,89 while Peter van der Westhuizen came seventh in the 1000m in 2min:22,33sec. The men's 4x100m team finished fourth in their event in 39,83sec.

Then on Sunday at a throwers' meeting in Charlottenburg, Berlin, Elizna Naude recorded a distance of 59,49m in the discus while Robert Oosthuizen struggled in the javelin. Willem Coertzen, who will represent South Africa in the decathlon, had good performances in the shot put and javelin.

The SA team at Neubrandenburg is now complete with the arrival of Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Caster Semenya and Simon Magakwe. - Sapa

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