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Ruben, Lebogang cash in

Olympic 3000 metres steeplechase finalist Ruben Ramolefi and middle distance star Lebogang Phalula are smiling all the way to the bank to deposit their R100,000 cheques after being announced as the 2010 Yellow Pages Athletes of the Season.

During Athletics South Africa’s 2010 track and field season, athletes who competed in a minimum of three of the six Yellow Pages Series meetings as well as the Yellow Pages SA Senior Track and Field Championships held in Durban in their core events that they specialise in, were eligible to be considered for the Athlete of the Season financial incentive.

Performances during the season were measured according to the points table of the world governing body, the IAAF, and Ramolefi’s top three scoring performances in the Yellow Pages Series, plus his national championships points haul took him to the top of the men’s standings with 4542 points. Lebogang Phalula, who along with her twin sister Lebo Phalula, provided many memorable moments in the middle distance races, totalled 4389 points to take first spot in the women’s competition.

Robert Oosthuizen’s Commonwealth qualifying performance of 82.96 metres in the javelin event at the opening Yellow Pages Series meeting in Port Elizabeth, saw him join Elizna Naude (60.94m in the discus) as the recipients of R15000 each as the Athletes of the Meet.

In Durban, it was the turn of LJ van Zyl (with a 400m hurdles time of 49.49sec) and another fine throw by Naude (64.49m) to bank the respective R15000 cheques.

On to Potchefstroom, and Van Zyl (49.5sec in the 400 metres hurdles) and javelin star Justine Robbeson (60.48m) finished as the respective Athlete of the Meet awards.

Windy Jonas (1min 46.8sec in the 800m) and Lebogang Phalula (2:04.6 in the 800m) were each R15 000 richer at the completion of the  meeting held at the University of Johannesburg, while in a wind-swept event in Stellenbosch, Ramolefi (8:35.6 in the 3000m steeplechase) and Estie Wittstock (53.42sec in the 400m) cashed in.

World 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (1:45.1 in the two-lapper) and Lebogang Phalula (2:04.5 in the 800m) finished the season off in fine style by claiming the R15,000 incentives at the final leg of the series in Germiston.

As a result of their performances in the SA Senior Track and Field Championships, Ramolefi (1163 points in the 3000m steeplechase) and Rene Kalmer (1142 points in the 1500m) were named as the Athletes of the Meet.

In congratulating the athletes, ASA Administrator Ray Mali said: ÔÇ£Incentives, such as these offered by Yellow Pages, allow for our athletes to be even further motivated in striving for greatness and it is fast times, far and high jumps and long throws that will keep the attention focused on this sport.ÔÇØ

Lionel Smith, GM Marketing of Trudon (Publishers of Yellow Pages) described Yellow Pages’ incentives as a way of honouring the athletes for their fine performances during the 2010 season. ÔÇ£At Yellow Pages, we are delighted to offer platforms on which our athletics stars can shine with the Yellow Pages Athlete of the Meet and Athlete of the Season incentives a further indication of our commitment towards backing the competitors in their quest for excellence.ÔÇØ