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Peter’s in a NY frame of mind

By Mark Etheridge

Hard on the heels of his personal best time for the mile in Oslo last week, our middle distance ace, Peter van der Westhuizen looks to continue his good form on Saturday.

United States based Van der Westhuizen clocked 3min 54.90sec for the Dream Mile in Oslo and his next mission is another mile, this time at the adidas Grand Prix meeting in New York.

And he’s in a confident frame of mind. “I’m definitely hoping to improve on my Oslo form. I think the race will be more even paced and will allow for a fast race.

“It’s a good field with many of the best American milers, including Bernard Lagat, so I’m excited. New York has been good to me. It’s where I ran my personal best (3:35.33) and qualified for the 1500m at World Championships in Berlin last year. It’s a great place to run and this should be a great meet in all events.”

Van der Westhuizen warmed up for NY with a seventh placed finish in Spain on Wednesday night. “It was a bit of a bad one. 3:38.32 (7th) with the winning time a 3:37. I was in the lead 80m to go and led the last 400m. The pack passed me and I had no response. I felt flat the whole race though. My first lap was a 57 then 1:57 (I could not get going) then 2:54. Then I paid for it. It was tactical and they just sat and kicked. I should have done the same.”

As World Cup soccer fever descends on South Africa the country will be represented at athletics meetings around the globe over the next few days

Also in the US, Lehann Fourie will be out to continue the good form he’s shown in the 110m hurdles event.

Last month he ran a personal best 13.44sec in Colombia. That sees him slot in at joint 17th in the world this year. The only South African quicker in the hurdles dash is Shaun Bownes who ran a 13.26 back in 2001.

Fourie will be in action at the NCAA championships at the University of Oregon.

First of the South Africans in action though will be Sunette Viljoen in the javelin.

She will throw at Thursday night’s Golden Gala meeting in Rome. She’s the only South African entrant at the meeting and the 26-year-old will be up against star-studded field, including Czech world recordholder Barbara Spotakova.

Viljoen, 26, the national champion, is the continent’s best javeliner after her 65.43 at last year’s World Student Games in Belgrade and she’s ranked fifth in the world this year.