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Discus gold for Elizna

By Mark Etheridge

Champion Elizna Naude defended her discus title with ease at the 17th African Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday.

Naude opened with a 55.29 metre throw and closed with her best throw of the competition, a 56.74 effort.

That left her 1.21 metres ahead of runner-up Kazai Suzanne Kragbe of the Ivory Coast who threw 55.53, also with her sixth and final throw of the competition.

Naude’s triumph provided for South Africa’s third gold of the championships after Burger Lambrechts (shot put) and Khotso Mokoena (long jump). They also have a silver and three bronze medals for a total of seven medals.

Meanwhile in the heats of the men’s 110m hurdles our two competitors both went through to the next round.

Defending champion and gold medal favourite Lehann Fourie was fastest qualifier after the US based runner won the second heat in 13.73sec. The first heat saw Ruan de Vries end third in 14.12 but good enough to go through.

In the men’s 800m final, weakened by the absence of our world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi who missed the semi-finals with injury, the in-form local runner David Rudisha cruised the first lap in 51.59 before winning in 1min 42.84sec in a Kenyan 1-2-3 of medals. Alfred
Kirwa was second in 1:44.85 and Jackson Kivuva third in 1:45.47.

Our sole finalist, Windy Jonas ended last of eight in 1:49.08 but will no doubt benefit from the experience of running in a continental championships final.

In the women’s 1500m final our Rene Kalmer ended eighth in 4:18.21 behind Kenya’s Nancy Jebet Lagat (4:10.43).