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Caster, Wayde dominate student champs

Athletics

Olympic gold medallists Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk raced to respective treble and double title sweeps at the South African Universities Track and Field Championships in Cape Town this weekend.

Sinking his teeth into the 200m-400m double, Van Niekerk came out on top, first winning his specialist 400m on Friday before successfully defending his half-lap title on Saturday.

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Caster Semenya did the triple at the SA students championships in Cape Town. Photo: Roger Sedres, BackpagePixWayde van Niekerk got in some good competitive racing in the 200m and 400m. Photo: Roger Sedres, BackpagePixRuswahl Samaai pulled off yet another jump well in excess of eight metres. Photo: Roger Sedres, BackpagePix

No stranger to taking on the treble, Semenya completed the sweep for the second consecutive year.

Semenya did the bulk of her work on Friday, when she won the 1 500m in a time of four minutes, 16.87 seconds (4:16.87).

She was followed by Anuscha Nice in 4:18.41, with Kesa Molotsane rounding off the podium in a time of 4:19.92.

Semenya backed into the starting blocks in the 400m an hour later, where she raced to victory in a time of 51.84, ahead of World University Games champion Justine Palframan in 52.41.

Arian Nel finished third in 54.05.

On Saturday, the Olympic gold medallist posted a season’s best of 2:00.99 in the 800m, with Nice winning her second silver of the championships in a time of 2:05.48, ahead of Thatho Makhafola in third place with 2:10.61.

Winning both titles should be a good morale-booster just months after Van Niekerk announced he would attempt the 200m-400m double at the IAAF World Championships in London in August.

Van Niekerk previously won the double at the University Championships in Pretoria in 2014.

Racing in the 400m for only the second time this season, the world record-holder crossed the line in a modest time of 46.28.

National champion Pieter Conradie followed closely behind him in second place, posting a time of 46.33, with Nene Zakithi clinching third place in 46.88.

Wayde van Niekerk got in some good competitive racing in the 200m and 400m. Photo: Roger Sedres, BackpagePix


Van Niekerk successfully defended his 200m title a week after he won the half-lap sprint gold at the South African championships in Potchefstroom, where he clocked a world lead of 19.90.

The blustery Cape Town conditions from earlier on Saturday dissipated in the afternoon when Van Niekerk lined up in the 200m final.

The Olympic gold medallist finished well ahead of his nearest rival, posting a time of 20.10, with Hendrik Maartens finishing second in 20.63, and Yusuf Ismail bagging the bronze in 21.25.

South African 100m hurdles champion Rikenette Steenkamp once again proved to be a consistent performer, getting close to dipping below 13 seconds as she won in a time of 13.09.

Maryke Brits finished in second place in 13.60, with national junior record-holder Taylon Bieldt crossing the line in 13.82.

Rantso Mokopane won both the men’s 1 500m and 3 000m steeplechase titles, which were scheduled half-an-hour apart.

Commonwealth Games long jump bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai continues to show consistent form, leaping to victory with a best attempt of 8.35m.

Samaai finished behind national record-holder Luvo Manyonga at last week’s national championships with a new personal best of 8.49m.

Independent Media

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