SA star Dominique Scott-Efurd qualifies for second Olympic event in Hengelo
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CAPE TOWN – Dominique Scott-Efurd produced the run of her life at the FBK Games in Hengelo, The Netherlands on Sunday to qualify for a second event, the women’s 10 000m, at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 28-year-old long-distance runner from Cape Town, who spent many years on the US college circuit at the University of Arkansas, had already made it to Japan in the 5 000m, having run a qualifying time of 14:59.08 in 2019.
Her first Olympics came at Rio 2016, when she finished 21st in the 10 000m.
But now, she will be able to compete in two events in Tokyo. Scott-Efurd was no doubt inspired by Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan, who produced a new 10 000m world record of 29 minutes, 06.82 seconds (29:06.82) – which beat Ethiopian Almaz Ayana’s previous mark of 29:17.45.
With the pace at its ultimate in the race, Scott-Efurd was in the second group of leading athletes throughout, and that pushed her to new heights as she finished in a new personal best of 31:19.89, which was better than her previous best of 31:43.18, and was quicker than the Olympic qualifying time of 31:25.00.
Hassan told the World Athletics website about her remarkable run: “Wow, to run this world record here today in Hengelo is something I could only dream of. It’s the perfect confirmation of the hard work we’ve put in getting ready for Tokyo. I am so happy to share this record in front of my Dutch fans. I am so happy!”
It was also another good outing for Wenda Nel in the 400m hurdles. The multiple South African champion maintained her consistency over the one-lap race, and her strategy paid off as she finished third in a solid time of 55.25 – just short of her 2021 best of 55.16.
Dutch star Femke Bol triumphed in 54.33, which was a new meeting record.
In the men’s division, experienced long jumper Ruswahl Samaai had a satisfactory outing in his first event in Europe this year.
The former world championship bronze medallist surpassed the eight-metre barrier to claim second place in 8.10m, behind Frenchman Augustin Bey’s winning effort of 8.16m.
Meanwhile, national 400m champion Zakithi Nene was going strong in the first 300m, but faded towards the end to finish fourth in a time of 45.87, with American favourite Fred Kirley winning in 44.74.
It was an afternoon to forget for sprinter Luxolo Adams, who was returning from a lengthy hamstring injury layoff.
His coach Paul Gorries told Independent Media recently that he was confident his athlete could beat the Olympic qualifying mark of 20.24 seconds – as he had a personal best of 20.01 – but it was not to be for the man from the Eastern Cape in the 200m in Hengelo.
Coming into the bend for the second 100m, Adams pulled up and ran off the track, and was eventually on the ground as he sustained an unspecified injury. He had to be helped up, and was taken off the track on a stretcher.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala won in 20.37.