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Field athletes win two more medals for SA at World Championships

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South Africa doubled their medal tally on day two of the IAAF World U18 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday.

After sprinters Tshenolo Lemao and Retshidisitswe Mlenga had dashed to gold and silver on day one, it was fine performances by the field athletes that boosted the medals count.

SA team now lie second on the table with four medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze). South Africa’s four medals are the most by any nation at this point, but Germany’s two golds elevates them to first.

A career-best 75.68-metre throw by 16-year-old Johannes Schlebush (pictured above) saw him taking silver in the javelin.

That followed a bronze medal by Jonathan de Lacey Lacey in the shot put, as he also came up with a career-best heave, lobbing the silver sphere 19.93m.

‘I’m surprised and excited to win a bronze medal. I didn’t expect to do well here because I didn’t have a good preparation prior to the final,’ said De Lacey Lacey.

‘On Saturday I expect another medal in the discus though, because I will put in the same effort.’ The qualifying for discus is on Friday.

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Schlebush’s fellow South African, Joshua Maas, struggled to mount a challenge, and after delivering a first-round throw of 59.55m, was unable to make the halfway cut.

Versatile Julian Bogner failed to medal in the long jump, his 7.40m just pipped to bronze by Romania’s Andreas Bucsa, who leapt 7cm further with his final jump.

But Bogner lives to fight another day, after ending third in his 110m hurdles heat in 14.12sec to progress safely though to Friday’s semi-finals.

Compatriot Roelof van der Walt was quicker in his heat. Crossing the line in 13.97, he finished fourth and was eliminated ahead of the penultimate round. It could all have been so different though, as Van der Walt was looking good before a bad stumble right at the final hurdle saw him slow up drastically.

Meanwhile, in the preliminary 400-metre hurdles rounds, the world’s fastest youth athlete, Sokwakhana Zazini (in action below), coasted to an imperious victory in his heat, booking his place as the firm favourite for Saturday’s final with a 49.63 win, more than two seconds faster than the next quickest qualifier.

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Zazini set a world youth best of 48.84 in Pretoria in March.

In the girls’ competition, sprinter Rose Xeyi did well to reach the 100m final, where she finished seventh in 12.01 behind Mizgin Ay of Turkey, who won in 11.62.

While compatriot Joviale Mbisha had set a personal best of 11.99 in the semi-finals earlier, she finished fifth in her race and was unable to progress to the medal contest.

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In the morning session, Zeney van der Walt won her 400m hurdles heat in 59.60 to book her place in Saturday’s final

And in the opening round of the hammer, Tharina van der Walt launched a 63.10m to qualify for the final, also on Saturday.

Pictures courtesy of ROGER SEDRES/ImageSA


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