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SA look to ‘Green Machine’

Team SA coach Eugene Thipe has put his faith in the ‘Green Machine’ 4 x 100 metres relay quartet of Waide Jooste, Wayde van Niekerk, Sean de Klerk and Gideon Trotter to get the Rainbow Nation through to Saturday’s final stage of the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada.

Following Team SA’s training session held in energy-sapping heat on Saturday, Thipe remains convinced that the relay unit has the potential to surprise many, including themselves.

ÔÇ£If each sprinter can run between 10.48 secs and 10.50 in Friday’s heats, then we are in the game and will definitely have a chance of making the final,ÔÇØ said Thipe.

ÔÇ£Thereafter the SA relay unit will have as good a chance as any of achieving success. At training, we first work on the relay aspects such as clean baton handovers before the athletes turn to their own coaching programmes for their individual events. It’s looking good in training and I announced the relay line up early so the guys know where they stand┬á with me.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£The athletes are aware that the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund has put quite a bit of cash into this trip and they want to give the financial backer and SA’s sports-loving public something to cheer about.ÔÇØ

Johannesburg-based Jooste (with a 100 metres qualifying time of 10.42), will join the Free State trio of 200 metres sprinter van Niekerk (with a 200m qualifying time of 21.15), De Klerk (with a 200m qualifying effort of 21.00) and Trotter (with a 100m qualifying time of 10.49) as part of the sprint relay team.

At the previous IAAF World Junior Championships held in Poland two years ago, the Team SA line up of Johannes Mosala, Roscoe Engel, Patrick Vosloo and Wilhelm van der Vyver, produced a time of 39.70 in the 4×100, relay final to claim the bronze medal.

Thipe also expressed his satisfaction with the training efforts put in by the youngest member of the team in 16-year-old KwaZulu Natal sprinter Justine Palframan (200m), Tshwane’s Anuscha Nice (800m), Jean-Mare Senekal (400m hurdles) and decathlon participant Gert Swanepoel. Team SA management have arranged for Swanepoel to make use of local poles, after his poles were left in SA with several international airlines refusing to transport the equipment due to its length.

Another to catch the eye of the national coach at training was Free State’s Ratlale Mokone, who will compete in the 1500m with a qualifying time of 3:43.52 to his name.

Team SA went to sleep on Saturday night in the knowledge that their lost luggage had been traced with 16 bags due to arrive in Moncton from Toronto on Sunday morning and a further six pieces of baggage that remained behind in London, to be flown to Toronto and then Moncton.