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Wind beats Ruben, Rene

By Mark Etheridge

The wind blew away all chances of good times at Tuesday night’s penultimate Yellow Pages Series track and field meeting at Coetzenburg, Stellenbosch.

And Caster Semenya’s limbo from competitive athletics also continued as officials decided it was ill-advised to make her return as the sport’s international governing body, the IAAF, have still not announced the results of gender tests after she won the 800-metre gold medal at last year’s World Championships in Berlin.

Semenya was at Coetzenburg last night but, after a meeting before the competition, Boland Athletics CEO Richard Stander advised her not to compete and she spent the evening as a spectator and VIP guest.

“I told her it is really quite simple. She has been ill-advised. Tonight’s meeting is an eligible event on the IAAF calendar. An athlete needs to be eligible to compete and as she is being investigated by the IAAF she needs to abide by them.

“Understandably she wasn’t happy but understood.”

Stander is also assisting SASCOC board member Ray Mali and an interim board with the running of Athletics South Africa’s affairs.

On the track though it was hoped that Rene Kalmer and Ruben Ramolefi would provide the highlights of the meeting but the notorious south-easter wind took care of that.

Ramolefi, who broke the national 3000m steeplechase record at this same venue at the national championships last year, ran 8min 35.63sec.

“When I saw how the wind was blowing there was no ways I could run a good time so I just used today as an experiment. I focused on my hurdling technique and also on changing pace during the race. These are all good things to experiment with ahead of the European season.

“I’ll be running the last Yellow Pages meeting next week and then I’m running the Diamond League race in Doha, Qatar and hopefully Rabat, Morocco as well.”

Kalmer also rued a missed opportunity as she failed to meet the 4:08.42 Commonwealth Games qualifying mark and finished outside the 4:15 mark as well, ending with a 4:17.58.

“It’s such a pity. Monday night was ideal but today the wind was always going to win. I’ve been focusing on this race but now I have to switch focus to the Two Oceans half-marathon on Saturday. I have no idea what time I’ll run there because of my track training. After that I also want to run Doha and then focus on Europe.”

The men’s 1500m went to world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in 3:47.02 while the national 400m hurdles champs won their events, Wenda Theron in 60.34 and local athlete Cornel Fredericks in 50.78.

Earlier Estie Wittstock had run a 100/400m double in the space of a few minutes, finishing second behind Cindy Stewart in the 100m ( 12.44) and then winning the 400m in 53.42.

And the men’s 100m final saw Leigh Julius win in 10.73 into a -2.1m/sec headwind as national 100m champion Simon Magakwe was relegated into fourth spot in 10.98.