Fifty-one-year-old Sandra Steenkamp broke the South African record in the 50 kilometre walk at the SA Race Walking Championships at Youngsfield Military Base in Cape Town on Saturday.
Steenkamp, from Gauteng North, dominated in the women’s 50km walk, looking very comfortable throughout the race, and finished more than 30 minutes ahead of her closest competitor. She improved her own SA record (5hr 18min 36sec) when she crossed the line in 5:17.55, with the same big smile on her face as she had throughout the race.
Teammate Elize van Eeden finished in 5:48.12 while Trudi Carstens took the bronze medal in 6:18.50.
This event was South Africa’s first ever IAAF approved Race Walking Championships and an Olympic qualifier with international IAAF acclaimed judges. These judges included the Chief Judge for the 2012 Olympic Games, Steven Taylor (UK), George Kariuki (Kenya) and Maris Petersen (Russia).┬áThey all did a spectacular job and took time off afterwards to talk to athletes and give guidelines.
Marc Mundell (Gauteng North) and Ross McDonald (Western Province) initially walked together for the first 14km in the senior men’s 50km, which was an Olympic qualifying race.┬áMcDonald passed Mundell and lead the race for the next 4km before Mundell changed it all again and took the lead.┬áThe SA record holder just continued walking and the chances of catching up became smaller as the laps went by.┬áMundell finished the race in 4:22.14 with McDonald coming in second in 5:06.38.┬áSiphiwe Mtshali from Central Gauteng took bronze, his time recorded at 5:33.16.
Lebogang Shange had a brilliant race and walked himself into first position in the 20km race for senior men.┬áThis 21-year-old from Central Gauteng showed excellent technique throughout the race and finished in 1:27.31, ahead of teammate Pierre de Villiers with his time of 1:28.33. Wayne Snyman (AGN) took bronze in 1:28.59. All three athletes recorded personal bests in this event.
In the same distance for senior women, Michelle Hopkins (CGA) took gold in 1:54.34 while teammate Nomsa Buthelezi finished in 2:00.46 in second position.┬áThird place went to Elmarie Bezuidenhout (EPA) in 2:01.27.
In the 10km junior men and women’s races Central Gauteng continued dominating with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze.┬áInge Kotze (CNW) was just not quick enough and had to be satisfied as Rose Shabalala claimed the gold medal in 1:00.05. Her time of 1:00.41 was just marginally slower but not good enough for gold.┬áNthatisi Mokhele finished third almost 10 minutes behind, her time 1:10.52.
Mfana Mbatha (CGA) completed the walk in 50:36, some six minutes ahead of Nkosinathi Kcokazi who finished in 56:37. Asiphiwe Jafter took bronze in 1:05.08.
Elsa Meyer competed in the 20km race for Master Women and clocked 2:04:14, a new SA Masters record. In the team competition Central Gauteng Athletics won the team prize while Western Province athletics came second.┬áGauteng North finished in third position.