Commonwealth Games athlete Wenda Nel stepped up her preparations with a fine win on Australian soil this week.
Competing in the Queensland International Track Classic, ahead of next week’s Commonwealth Games, Nel won the 400-metre hurdles event in a time of 55.01sec.
It was an excellent confidence booster as she beat 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Janieve Russell of Jamaica by 0.09sec with England’s Meghan Beesley third in 56.45.
Russell is also a former world junior 400m hurdles champion.
The Tuks athlete said that she had no real expectations for the race as her body was still recovering from the long hours of travelling.
‘It was quite windy when we raced and I didn’t have the best of starts. The other athletes set off at a fast pace but I didn’t let that get to me and just kept running at my own pace.
‘I started to catch up and pass my rivals one by one from the seventh hurdle. At the 10th hurdle, I drew level with Russell and then managed to outsprint her to the line. I was surprised how good I felt afterwards.’
Nel was especially pleased with how she was able to execute her pace and rhythm throughout her race and according to her, it was one of her better performances.
The Tuks athlete will start her Games campaign on 10 April.
‘I’m not sure how many races we are going to have because it seems there might not be enough entries for heats, semi-finals and the final. We might just do a heat/semi-final and the final.’
Nel currently holds the world leading time in the 400m hurdles, having run 54.96.
Catch the final stages of Nel’s win here:
Meanwhile, less than two weeks after setting a South African 100m record, Carina Horn has withdrawn from the SA Commonwealth Games team.
Horn, currently the fastest female over 100m in the world this season, had to withdraw due to an unspecified injury.
The Tuks athlete is understandably disappointed but said it would be foolish to risk aggravating it, especially since she is so close to becoming the first South African female sprinter to dip under 11 seconds.
At the recent South African Championships at Tuks, she ran times of 11.03 and 11.08sec.
If nothing unforeseen happens, Horn’s next race is scheduled to be the Diamond League Meeting in Doha (4 May).