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SA athletes off pace

Two wins but no qualifying standardsÔǪ that was the outcome of South Africa’s efforts at Wednesday night’s Meeting d’Atletisme Nant’Haies Atlantic meeting in Nante, France, writes Mark Etheridge.

Beijing Olympic finalist Juan van Deventer won the men’s 1500-metres ahead of compatriot Johan Cronje while Wenda Theron won the women’s 400m hurdles.

French middle-distance ace Florian Carvalho doubled up in the 800 and 1500m. After running 1:49.17 in the 800 he just ran 1000m of the 1500m on the instructions of his coach.

Van Deventer went on to win in 3:36.91 with Cronje second in 3:37:01. Both were shy of the 3:35.50 Olympic A qualifying time. “I would rather come last with a qualifying time than first with a 3 36, but it was close again. It was the first time I had a solid last lap, so let’s hope on Monday it all comes together and Johan and myself run fast.

“We’re running Prague, it has a very rich tradition in the 1500m and always has a strong field.”

Theron, who has qualified twice on South African soil but needs to qualify with a 55:50 or quicker on the international scene to come into contention for Team SA in London later this year.

She told Road to London 2012 on Thursday: “All’s well in Europe, enjoying it a lot here but the times are not there yet. I won last night, not a great time. but I’m so blessed just to be here. I ran 56.76 and my next and last race will be in Prague on Monday so hopefully that will be my best race.”