Olympian Nel nails third place with strong London showing | TeamSA - TeamSA

Olympian Nel nails third place with strong London showing


By Mark Etheridge

Wenda Nel leaves London in confident frame of mind after a confidence-boosting third place in Sunday’s Diamond League meeting.

She ran a time of 54.73 seconds for the 400-metre hurdles, making up for what she labelled a disappointing result in Hungary during the week.

The two girls ahead of her both ran season’s bests, with Jamaica’s Janieve Russell running 54.02sec and American Cassandra Tate 54.59. Nel will be happy to have run more than a second quicker than the 55.83 she ran in Budapest.

‘Yes, very happy this time and much, much better than Tuesday. That’s why I say, each and every race is different,’ said Nel, the only South African in Diamond League action on Sunday.

‘I really enjoyed this one, I started a bit slower, like I did in the Rome Diamond League and it worked out well again.

‘Now I must just work on getting the balance right, maybe start just that little bit faster, but still be able to finish strong and the times will hopefully drop.

‘I started in an outside lane, but just wanted to run my own race and focus on myself, which can be a bit difficult because you don’t know how fast the girls are going to come up on your inside, but I finished strongly, was able to attack the last two hurdles and still be competitive.

‘Nice to be back in the 54s and now looking forward to the next Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday and then Monaco and hopefully by then I’ll be ready for World Championships.’

Meanwhile, Justine Palframan heads back to South Africa with a personal best of 22.84sec for the 200m in Kortrijk, Belgium.

‘It was very exciting,’ said Palframan (pictured right) ahead of her flight back to Cape Town. ‘My coach [Stellenbosch based Suzanne Ferreira, now in London for the IPC Athletics World Championships], and my training group believed in me.

‘I have felt good at training, so I knew I could run a good race and it was just a bigger bonus that it was a personal best as well .

‘I’m excited because I had one of my better European seasons even with the little races I had and it shows I’m on the right track and that what we are doing is working. God was really great and he provided .

‘Now I’m heading back to Cape Town and next is World Students or possibly World Champs if I get selected.’

Also in Belgium, Zarck Visser continued his comeback after surgery from a broken tibia in December last year. He won the long jump with a leap of 8.07m.

‘The leg is fine now. I just  need to work on the run-up a little,’ said Visser, pictured above, from his Netherlands base.

‘The speed is starting to come through, that kinda changes things. An 8.07m is great, but it was my opening jump and that’s usually my safe jump.

‘I know I can do better, it all just needs to come together.’

Visser’s had four competitions since surgery, SA championships (8.04), Hengelo (7.88), 8.22 in a German long-jump competition and now this 8.07.

Next up is a competition in Spain on Friday.

There was also a personal best for Lebakeng Sesele, who won the men’s 200m in 20.27sec, putting up his hand for selection to the SA team for next month’s IAAF World Championships in London. He also ran the 100m, where he took second in 10.20, albeit with an illegal 3.2m/sec tailwind.

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