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Summer opportunities

By Mark Etheridge

Next year is Olympic year and the country’s athletes have one thing on their mind, qualification for Team South Africa at London 2012.

As such the Yellow Pages Summer Series announced this week provides a perfect platform.

Yes, the distances are non-standard but no opportunity to get out on track and compete against the clock and their rivals is going to be sniffed at now.

The four meetings will be in Port Elizabeth on 8 December, as well as meetings in Oudtshoorn on 12 December, Stellenbosch on 15 December 15 and Parow on 17 December.

As ASA chairman James Evans explained: “These meetings are more about competing than brilliant times but we must also remember that this year is a World Indoor Championships year so we may get some qualifiers at this series.

“And last year’s inaugural Yellow Pages Summer Series was the start of a lengthy build-up that eventually saw us win four medals at the World Championships in South Korea earlier this year.”

Present at this week’s Cape Town launch were world junior and All Africa Games long jump champion Luvo Manyonga as well as the versatile veteran jumper and hurdler Janice Josephs.

“I’ve had a nice break after All Africa,” Manyonga told Road to London 2012. “I’ll jump the final two events in Stellenbosch and Parrow.

“Plans for 2012 are a personal best as well as a spot on that team for the Olympics.”

Josephs is also very excited. “I’ve switched coaches [from William Banks to Maties’ Mario Smit] and I’m very excited to be part of the Maties clan. I’m training my butt off and there’s certainly no Christmas holidays for us.

“I’ve lost weight and I’m also going to have another crack at the hurdles events this time out.”