LONDON – South Africa’s two shot-putters, Orazio Cremona and Jaco Engelbrecht, cannot seem to find a reprieve from the bite of winter, with cold weather on Wednesday welcoming them at the height of the English summer.
Cremona and Engelbrecht had a tour of the circle in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park amid cold and wet conditions before the IAAF World Championships, which start in London on Friday.
However, nothing could dampen Engelbrecht’s mood after the birth of his second child earlier in the day.
Engelbrecht’s fan club grew by one when his son, Jeandré, made his arrival a week earlier than expected.
“The birth was supposed to be next week, so it was touch and go whether I would make it or not, but they were apparently doing shopping today, and (my wife) felt there was something wrong and had to go to the hospital,” Engelbrecht said.
The African champion said the new addition to their family weighed 3.76kg, half the size of the shot he hopes to catapult more than 21 metres at the championships.
Engelbrecht set a new personal best of 20.63m recently, and hopes to produce another mammoth heave to earn him a place in the final on Sunday.
“I’m looking to make a final... two years ago I set myself the target, and I should have made the final two years ago.
“But my head wasn’t right and I went into a two-year programme, so we will see, but distance-wise, I also want to go 21 metres.”
National throwers coach Terseus Liebenberg was not impressed with the cold weather, but Engelbrecht and Cremona remained undeterred.
Cremona smashed his personal best by almost half a metre with a final effort of 21.12m to claim the South African title in Potchefstroom, which edged him closer to Janus Robberts’ national record of 21.97m.
Both Cremona and Engelbrecht hold down day jobs, and opted not to participate in any throwing competitions in Europe, instead making adjustments during the South African winter.
The duo held an exhibition competition in winter to gauge their readiness.
“I’m not going to put any expectations on myself. I feel good, I am healthy, so I just want to go out and do my best,” Cremona said ahead of competing at his third world championships.
“When you are injury-free, it feels like you can fly, I had a good training session today, I feel like the rhythm is there.”
Incessant rain yesterday did little to extinguish the Usain Bolt mania that swept through the British capital from the day before.
Bolt dominated the back pages of England’s daily newspapers as the Jamaican sprinting legend prepares for his final golden hurrah in the 100m on Saturday.
The weatherman predicts clear and sunny conditions for Saturday’s big race, when South Africa’s Akani Simbine is also expected to line up in what promises to be one of the most memorable finals in Bolt’s illustrious career.