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Record for Coertzen

While the most spoken about person in Team South Africa at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships (mostly for all the wrong reasons) in Berlin, Germany yesterday was Caster Semenya, Willem Coertzen was quietly going about business as usual in the two-day decathlon event.

And he had many reasons to smile, setting six personal bests on the way to a new national record of 8,146 points and placing 14th in the world. His previous best was 8,054 points.

“Six personal bests out of 10 events, 14th in the world, and a new national record – who could be unhappy with that?” said the London-based Coertzen on SuperAthletics.

In Thursday’s final day of competition the 26-year-old started with a personal best in the 110m hurdles of 14.26 seconds.

A second-round throw in the discus reached 42.40m adding 5cm to his personal record. Then came a another personal best, 4.60m in the pole vault, 15 cm higher than his previous best.
The run of success carried over to the javelin with a first throw of 65.46, eclipsing another best by 14cm and putting the South African on 7 418 points for 14th position going into the final 1 500m race.

After a conservative start, Coertzen gradually moved through the field to finish in four minutes 32.57 seconds. “When I started in the 1 500m, I could just feel the day’s effort in my legs.

“My problem is getting stuff from training into competition. In training I’ve been throwing javelin to 69m to 70m, but in decathlon I’m hitting 65. I’m only three years in the sport and inexperienced in decathlon but every decathlon I’ve had has been a PB – I can’t complain.

“Its been absolutely awesome so far, and 14th in the world — not many people can say that!”