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Silver for Steenkamp as SA athletes medal in Stockholm

Steenkamp

South African athletes secured one silver and three bronze medals at Sunday’s Stockholm leg of the IAAF Diamond League, writes MARK ETHERIDGE.

Six SA athletes were in action while Commonwealth long jump champion Luvo Manyonga, Rio Olympian Rynardt van Rensburg (800 metres) and up and coming sprinter Luxolo Adams (200m) were all on the podium.

But the most impressive medallist on the night was young Rikenette Steenkamp in the 100m hurdles.

Steenkamp (Tuks) dipped under 13 seconds in the 100m hurdles for a second time in less than a week.

She finished second clocking 12.99. As in Prague, it was the former junior world champion, Elvira Herman (Belarus), who outsprinted her. Herman’s winning time in the national race was 12.74.

Although it wasn’t part of the official Diamond League meeting, Steenkamp said it was exciting to compete as she got an idea of what the League is all about.

Steenkamp (pictured above) had mixed feelings about the time she ran. ‘I don’t know what to think. I guess I should be satisfied with a time of 12.99 as it is only officially the third time that I managed to dip under 13 seconds. But after my 12.91 race in Prague, I know that I am capable of running faster times.

‘Not that I am looking for excuses, but my preparation for Sunday’s race was far from perfect. I got flu after my 12.91 race which meant that I could not train for two days. During our race, there were some technical difficulties. We were called up for a restart three times.’

Steenkamp’s next race is on 23 June when she will be competing at the Kuortane Games in Finland.

She’s under no illusions as to the challenge that awaits her. ‘I have got to improve by about 0.20sec if I truly want to be competitive in international races,’ said the Tuks athlete whose best time of 12.91 only ranks her 35th on the IAAF-list.

It had to happen, and for a change, Manyonga was unable to come up with the big jump on this occasion.

His first legal jump was in the second round and he started with an 8.25m. But that was to be his last successful jump as rising star Juan Miguel Eehevarria won, after the Colombian teenager came up with an impressive 8.83 effort on his sixth and final jump.

Runner-up with 8.39m, was the man who beat Manyonga to gold at the Rio Olympics, Jeff Henderson.

Manyonga’s SA teammate Ruswahl Samaai was fourth with an 8.20m best on the night.
Van Rensburg lined up with a spring in his heels after running a personal best 1min 45.5sec in Hengelo, Netherlands last week.

On this occasion, he improved his race position from fifth to third but not his time, stopping the clocks at 1:45.73, but still another solid 1:45 run in the bag.

Australian athletes bagged first and second, with Peter Bol running 1:44.56 and Joseph Deng 1:44.61.

Adams raced to bronze in the 200m, timed at 20.36 as Turkish world champ Ramil Guliyev won in 19.92 from Canada’s Aaron Brown (20.07).

The only other SA woman in action was Carina Horn.

But South Africa’s first sub-11sec 100m sprinter was unable to repeat her recent success and took sixth spot in 11.29sec as Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith won in 10.93 ahead of  Murielle Ahoure (Cote d’Ivoire) in 11.03.

Photo: Manyonga in Stockholm action and Steenkamp in local action, by  Christine Olsson/AFP/Getty Images and Reg Caldecott


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