Exciting hurdles showcase set for Pretoria
Yellow Pages III will take place in Pretoria tonight (20 April) at the ABSA Tuks Stadium and with the right conditions some good performances could be on the cards for athletes looking for the A-qualifying standard. LJ van Zyl, the first athlete to have qualified for the Olympics, did it on 5 April at this exact venue and tonight others to compete could walk the same path.
Amongst the women Wenda Theron has come very close, but has not yet dipped under the 55.50sec Olympic Qualifying A-standard required in the 400m hurdles. Lehann Fourie could very well run the qualifying time but his participation in the 110m hurdles is subject to a doctor’s visit due to a minor injury niggle.
Wenda Theron once again narrowly missed the qualifying time (55.50sec) in Port Elizabeth in the women’s 400m hurdles as she clocked a personal best time of 55.79sec. Yellow Pages III will be another opportunity for Theron to dip under the A-standard time. She started the season with 57.74sec in Germiston (25 February) and have since improved her time at almost every following meeting.
The new SA Champion in the 110m hurdles, Junior Mkhatini will line-up in in Pretoria. Mkhatini became the first black athlete in South African history to win the 110m hurdles for men at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth on 14 April and is now ranked amongst the top senior athletes with 13.96sec. Lehann Fourie who is struggling with a minor muscle injury and missed the SA Senior Championships, has run a faster time (13.31sec) at the Florida Relays in Gainesville on 6 April with the assistance of a strong backwind (3.0m/sec).
Should Fourie line-up in the 110m hurdles tonight it could be a very exciting race, especially since Fourie is very capable of dipping under the 14sec mark and Mkhathini can produce in a competitive environment against each other. Fourie requires a 13.52sec clocking to achieve the Olympic Qualifying A-standard time. ”If I don’t run on Friday in Pretoria there are still a lot of good races left oversees for me,” said Fourie on Thursday.
Other athletes to run in this event are Antonio Alkana (WPA) with a best time this season of 14.04sec. Other Tuks athletes in the race are Werner Pretorius (best 14.11sec, Pretoria 17 March), Kobus Moolman (14.13sec, Germiston 31 March), Muntingh Hamman (14.21, PE 14 April) and Tshepo Lefete (14.59sec, PE, 14 April).
Neither LJ van Zyl nor Cornel Fredericks will compete in Pretoria in the 400m hurdles as both athletes have secured their spots in the team to compete at the Olympic Games in London later this year. This will leave the race open for Le Roux Hamman and Shaun van Wyk to claim victory, both running in front of their home crowd. The 20 year-old Hamman ran a personal best of 50.99sec in Germiston on 31 March when he won the u23 400m hurdles title. He also won the silver medal at the SA Championships.
The two times SA Champion in the women’s 100m hurdles Claudia Viljoen (Tuks) is the strongest athlete in the field with her best this season the 13.67sec clocked in Port Elizabeth on 14 April. Kyla Gilbert (CGA) will most likely be Viljoen’s strongest competition as her best this season is 13.81sec run in Germiston on 25 February. Teammate Erika Kleynhans and Maryke Brits from Boland will run along with Steffi van Wyk from Namibia.
Yellow Pages III will take place at the ABSA Tuks Stadium starting at 17:00 with the last event taking place at 21:05. Tickets are selling at R25 for adults and R15 for children via itickets.co.za. Tickets will also be available at the gate or telephonically on (086 1000 291).