Four podium spots for Team SA

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IOL pic july31 games van niekerk sprint Reuters South African Wayde van Niekerk sits on the track after claiming a silver medal in the men's 400m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 30, 2014. Picture: Phil Noble

Johannesburg -

The South African athletes were right on the money in the track and field at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Wednesday night as they claimed three silver medals and a bronze.

National 400m sprint record-holder Wayde van Niekerk held his own against Olympic champion Kirani James of Granada, who won gold in a Games record time of 44.24 seconds.

Van Niekerk took the lead out over the first bend and the back straight before the Granadian pulled away over the final 150m with the South African challenging until the bitter end for a time of 44.68 sec. Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago posted a time of 44.78 seconds to finish in third place.

The Commonwealth silver medal completes a magnificent year for the Bloemfontein athlete after sensationally breaking the 15-year-old national record at the Diamond League meeting in New York in June with a time of 44.38 seconds.

Van Niekerk has another possible chance of winning silverware as he will feature in the 200m semi-finals along with compatriots Ncincilili Titi and Akani Simbine on Thursday.

The country's first field event medals came courtesy of the long jump duo of Zarck Visser and Rushwahl Samaai as they claimed silver and bronze respectively.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of England clinched the gold medal with a winning distance of 8.20m.

Visser leapt into second place with his best effort of 8.12m, while Samaai's 8.08m attempt earned him third place.

South African javelin queen Sunette Viljoen surrendered her Commonwealth title to Australia's Kim Mickle,who also smashed Viljoen's Games record with a heave of 65.96m.

Viljoen was on the cusp of winning her third consecutive Commonwealth gold medal, but her 63.19m was only good enough for a creditable silver medal.

Kelsey-Lee Robberts of Australia rounded off the podium with a best heave of 62.95m.

Meanwhile, South African men's 800m ace Andre Olivier booked a final berth in two-lap race after finishing third in his semi-final in a time of one minute, 46.30 seconds (1:47.93).

He will face world record-holder David Rudisha and Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana.

South African discus thrower Victor Hogan also progressed to Thursday's final with an automatic qualification in the morning session. - Sapa



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