Free State, South Africa – On Tuesday, 27 March 2018, top national senior athletes as well as international participants from Poland, Qatar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho were in action at the fifth Sasol-NWU Senior International Athletics meeting held at the DP de Villiers Stadium in Sasolburg.
One of the events most spectators were looking forward to, was the pole vault for men. Piotr Lisek from Poland, silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships, won with a height of 5.60m. The South African champion, Valco van Wyk, came second and bronze medalist at the 2018 national championships, Ekhardt van der Watt, was third. Lisek is one of only a few pole vaulters in the world who have cleared 6m. In the women’s pole vault Nicole Janse van Rensburg won with 3.60m and Tonet Tallie came second with a height of 3.45m. They were the silver and bronze medalists at the recent national championships. Apart from Lisek, all these pole vaulters are from Paarl Athletics Club.
Sunette Viljoen (NWU) who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, entertained spectators with a massive 62.46m in preparation for her Common Wealth Games that starts on 4 April 2018.
The local hero and undisputed king of South African hammer throw, 44 year old Chris Harmse, won with a 67.31m throw. Harmse is a former Common Wealth and African champion and reigning national champion since 1997. All seven athletes taking part in the event participated in the 2018 South African Championships.
Out of the field of nine hammer throw women athletes, seven participants competed at this year’s national championships. Marga Cumming from NWU won with a distance of 58.07m.
Another former Common Wealth and African champion, Shaun Bownes, was also in action. 47 year old Bownes ran the 110m hurdles event in an excellent 14.70 if taken into account that his World Masters 110m hurdles record in the M45 category stands at 14.38. Ruan de Vries (Tuks) came first in 13.87 with Marcello Pienaar (NWU) second in 13.97 and Willem Coertzen (NWU) a master in the M35 category, third in 14.11.
The South African world class long jump athlete, Karin Mey from Tuks won her event with a distance of 6.49m, beating the current national champion, Lynique Beneke (Kovsies) into second place. Beneke jumped a distance of 6.19m.
In the men’s shotput, the national champion Orazio Cremona (UJ) won with a distance of 20.24m, beating his team mates Kyle Blignaut and bronze medalist at the national championships, Jason van Rooyen into the second and third positions. They reached 18.57m and 18.36m respectively.
Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks) won the 100m hurdles in a spectacular 13.24. Janke van Wyk (Maties) silver medalist at the 2018 National Championships, came second in 14.11 and Denise Hartman (NWU) was third in 14.51.
However, it wasn’t only the masters who should be commended. A number of junior athletes also participated. 16 year old Nicole Louw from Sasolburg High did her school proud by winning the 800m for women in 2:07.64 against a strong senior field. Louw, ranked second in the 800m in her age group in 2017, participated against one of our brightest future athletics stars, Lee-Anne Blake (17) from Temba Prestige College who unfortunately didn’t enjoy a good race on the evening, achieving a still respectable seventh position. She won the bronze medal at the recent senior National Championships.
“This year the Sasol-NWU Senior International Athletics attracted the cream of our national masters, senior, junior and international athletes to the Vaal Triangle. Sasol is proud to sponsor this event. Sasol upgraded the DP de Villiers Stadium a few years ago to meet international athletics standards. It is events like these that help to sustain our investment in the community,” said Vusi Cwane, Sasol’s Sasolburg Operations Vice President: Corporate Affairs.
The event was sponsored by Sasol, the Rejuvenation Community Trust, NWU and the High Performance Centre at NWU.
Full results are available on http://versus.co.za/
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