Reigning 400-metre world champion, Amantle Montsho is amongst the athletes in the line-up to compete in the SA Open Championships in Pretoria this weekend.
The 28-year-old holds the Botswana national women’s 400m record after her 49.56sec victory at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year.┬áShe also won the title at the All Africa Games in 2011 and the Commonwealth Games and Africa Championships in her speciality event the previous year. No local female athletes have ever broken the 50sec barrier in the history of athletics in South Africa.
Heide Quinn (nee Seyerling) holds the South African record with her 50.50sec run at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Having only run one 400m race in 2012, Montsho’s season-best of 50.94sec is still faster than Tsholofelo Thipe’s fastest time. Thipe (ACNW) is currently the fastest woman in South Africa having clocked a 51.52sec, an A-standard Olympic Qualifying time, on 5 April.
Justine Palframan (KZN) holds the SA Junior as well as SA senior title after the absence of Thipe and Rorisang Rammonye in the 400m at the SA Senior Championships.┬á Palframan clocked a personal best by over a second at national championships, winning the race in 52.33sec.
Ramonnye will make a comeback after a troublesome hamstring kept her off the track for weeks.┬áRammonye’s last 400m was at Yellow Pages II in Potchefstroom (24 March) where she clocked 51.61sec, a personal best.┬áWestern Province’s Sonja van der Merwe will also compete in the event with her best of 52.75sec,run in Pretoria on 5 April.
Athletes from 19 different countries will be competing at Pilditch Stadium.┬áOther than South Africa, countries include Austria, Botswana, Germany, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swazilang, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.┬áThree additional athletes from Botswana, Sudan and Swaziland will compete in the women’s 400m race.
The programme starts at 9.30am on 4 May with the last event for the day starting at 3.30pm.┬áCompetition starts at 9.30am and ends at 4pm on Saturday’s final day.