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Wayde goes so close

Sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk clocked his third consecutive personal best time in as many races over 200 metres and rising javelin star Rocco van Rooyen produced the throw of his life, but medals eluded Team SA at the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada.

Van Niekerk clocked 21.02sec to finish fourth in the sprint final, as Canadian Aaron Brown (21.00) edged in for the bronze. Japan’s Shota Iizuka took gold in 20.67 with Bulgarian Aliaksandr Linnik placing second in 20.89.

ÔÇ£I am determined to dip under the 21sec barrier this year still, maybe at the Zone 6 Championships in Swaziland in December,ÔÇØ said Grey College grade 11 pupil Van Niekerk afterwards. ÔÇ£My legs felt lame going into the final. I don’t know if it was because I raced in Team SA’s 4 x 100 metres relay unit earlier in the evening or if it is the effects of a long week of racing or a long 2010 season, but I gave it my best shot out there.ÔÇØ

Western Province’s Van Rooyen throw the javelin to a career best mark of 74.13 metres to finish 6th in the final. German Till Woschler took gold with a world best distance of 82.52 metres.

ÔÇ£I battled with an in-between ribs strain, but am delighted to have thrown 74.13 metres,ÔÇØ said Van Rooyen. ÔÇ£I blocked well short of the allowed tartan area before sending the javelin to record my best effort, but this tells me that I have a 75 or 76 metres throw in me. Regarding Woschler’s new world junior record, it was incredible to watch. That javelin just kept sailing and never looked like dipping. It was amazing.ÔÇØ

Earlier, Team SA’s 4 x 100 metres relay quartet finished fourth in their heat in 40.32sec and failed to make the final.
University of Johannesburg’s Waide Jooste ran superbly on the first leg of the relay before straining his right hamstring before the baton changeover.

Team SA remain joint-sixth out of 170 participating countries on the medal standings at the world junior showpiece.

Saturday’s action involving Team SA athletes, will see Kobus Moolman line up in the semi-finals of the 110 metres hurdles, and Shaun de Jager and Jacques de Swardt among the national team’s unit for the 4x400m relay heats.