Athletes in late dash to qualify for champs

IT is rush hour for South African athletes who are eager to qualify for the CAA African championships in Nairobi, Kenya, from July 28 to August 1.

IT is rush hour for South African athletes who are eager to qualify for the CAA African championships in Nairobi, Kenya, from July 28 to August 1.

Commonwealth Games javelin champion Sunette Viljoen is one of the 11 senior athletes who have posted qualifying performances during the window period in a bid to stake a strong claim for selection to the SA team for the championships.

Viljoen, with a continental best of 66,38m in Prague earlier this week, was joined on the qualifiers' list by Mapaseka Makhanya, who ran 2min:03,54sec in the 800m in Oordegem, Belgium.

Rene Kalmer's time of 4:10.60 in the 1500m in Rabat and Estie Wittstock's 23,87 sec in the 200m in Baunatal, Germany, were also good enough to qualify for the championships.

Among the men, world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi set a qualifying time of 1:44,38 in the 800m in New York, while Ruben Ramolefi (8:18,26 in Rabat) and Edwin Molepo (8:31.21 in Oordegem) both qualified in the 3000m steeplechase.

Other male athletes on the national selectors' shortlist for Kenya are Pieter van der Westhuizen in the 1500m, who qualified with a time of 3:37,34 in New York; Damon Ulrich, who threw the javelin 75,17m in Stellenbosch; Cheyne Rahme, who cleared 5,30m in the pole vault in Potchefstroom; and LJ van Zyl, who ran 48.87 sec in the 400m hurdles in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Meanwhile, South Africa's athletes are also vying for the national team vest at the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Moncton, Canada, from July 20 to 25.

Gideon Trotter (20,87 in the 200m in Potchefstroom), Luvo Maniyonga (7,69m in the long jump in Stellenbosch), Rahme and Werner Pretorius (13,87m in the 110m hurdles in Krugersdorp) are all a step closer to national team selection.

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