By Mark Etheridge
In-form Wenda Nel’s winning ways continued on Sunday, this time back on African soil at the World Challenge event in Rabat, Morocco.
After competing in Asia and Europe, she won the 400-metre hurdles event in comfortable style, clocking 55.36sec.
Happy to be back in the African heat after some chilly European events, the Pretoria athlete looked the epitome of grace as she pretty much lead from start to finish to record her sixth win out of seven this season. In her wake was European Championships silver medallist Anna Titimets of the Ukraine a full half a second adrift of the South African.
And good to see was Nel’s fluid style, especially over the final hurdle which has been giving the Irma Reyneke-coached athlete a few hassles of late.
‘Grateful for another win! Blessed with my first international trip for the year! Time to go back home,’ said Nel before she headed back to South Africa.
European based sprinter Carina Horn was one place off the podium in the 100m with an 11.31 fourth place behind US rival Jessica young in 11.24 while 110m hurdler Antonio Alkana was fifth in 13.65 behind France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.37).
In the men’s 1500m, Johan Cronje was a surprise starter after appearing to be suffering from a virus last week and announcing his intention to head home. He took sixth with a 3:38.98 behind Qatar’s Mohamad Al-Garni (3:36.15).
And South African 400m champion Justine Palframan finished seventh in a strong one-lap field. She clocked 53.02 as American star Allyson Felix won in 51.05.
‘I didn’t run as planned tonight but to take a positive aspect out of this experience, I have now run against Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Veronica Campbell Brown and now Allyson Felix. This was always i dream I had but never thought it would come true,’ said Palframan afterwards.
Johan Cronje finished sixth in the men’s 1 500m in 3:38.98, and Justine Palframan was seventh in the women’s 400m in 53.02.
In the long jump Khotso Mokoena and Zarck Visser will be happy with both getting over the eight metre barrier after falling short in recent competition. Both lead the competition at one time or another.
Mokoena came up with a season’s best of 8.16m and Visser’s 8.10m saw them end second and third behind Bermuda’s Tyrone Smith (8.20m, just 2cm off his own national mark).
Meanwhile latest SA sprint sensation Henricho Bruintjies continued his sensational run of form with a new personal best 200m in Poland at the weekend.
After recently running the fastest 100m by a South African at sea level with his 10.06sec in the Czech Republic recently the former Klapmuts, Western Cape athlete was at it again at the weekend.
Competing at the 15th European Festival of Athletics in Bydgoszcz, he won the 200m in a personal best 20.62sec.
Other South Africans in action were: Ruan de Vries (fourth in the 110m hurdles, 13.72) and Le Roux Hamman (also fourth, in the 400m hurdles, 50.83).