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SA’s Van Niekerk leads the way around the world

Van Niekerk

Rio Olympic Games 400-metre gold medallist and world champion Wayde van Niekerk was the star performer at the weekend, leading the charge as South African track athletes shone in the United States and Finland.

Van Niekerk won the 200-metre race at the Adidas Boost Games in Boston on Sunday night, clocking 19.84 seconds on a straight 200m track to set an unofficial SA best in the rarely-run event.

The win will not be recorded by the IAAF either, as it was on a straight and did not include the standard bend.

Compatriot Akani Simbine, meanwhile, narrowly missed out on securing victory in the 100m dash at the unique meeting, crossing the line in second position in 10.21, after being pipped on the line by Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago.

Two days earlier, at the opening leg of the Boost Games series, distance runner and Rio Olympics 10 000m athlete Dominique Scott grabbed second spot in the women’s 1 500m race on the track, covering the distance in 4:12.48.

Meanwhile, another South African, hurdler Claudia Heunis’ European campaign hit an obstacle before she’d even left!

She’s due to run four races in Finland over the next two weeks ago, but cut things extremely short when her flight out to Europe was first delayed and then cancelled.

‘Apparently the airline didn’t pay their bill so the flight was grounded. So I had to fork out another R15,000 for new tickets,’ she told Mark Etheridge.

After a 24-hour delay she finally got to line up in the 100m hurdles at the Karis Telefon Games.

‘We had two races and I won both,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately the times weren’t great as we had a head wind and it was freezing cold. But after everything I went through I’m very thankful for the win and can focus for the next race on Friday in Lahti.

‘My time in the first race was 13.47 on the board and the second race was 13.5 something, I’m not exactly sure, as we had to catch the bus after my race. There was an A and B race (I was in the A-race) then one hour later there was a second run for anyone who wanted to run again.

‘There were eight girls… my second run wasn’t great as it was very cold and I hit a lot of hurdles.’


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