Belgrade - Twenty-two-year-old Lehann Fourie became South Africa's 2nd fastest 110m hurdler of all time when he competed on the penultimate day of the 2009 World Student Games in Belgrade on Saturday.
His time of 13.56 sec was recorded in the semi-final whilehe clocked 13.66 sec in the final to finish second and won the sixth medal for his team. Fourie is currently studing at the University of Nebraska in the United States.
It was a good day for the SA team in the relay heats when both the men and women's 4 x 100m teams advanced to Sunday's finals. The men's quartet, consisting of Leigh Julius, Thuso Mpuang, Kagiso Kumbane and Wilhelm van der Vyver won their race in 39.34 sec thus recording the best time of the day.
The female team finished fourth in their race in 44.91 sec but that was also good enough to race in the final.
The day belonged to Fourie who missed the world championship qualifying time by 0.01 sec.
He has made remarkable progress this year improving his personal best at the end of 2008 from 13.93 sec to 13.56 sec.
Only Shaun Bownes, SA record holder with 13.26 sec. since 2001, has ever run faster.
Fourie set a time of 13.57 sec in the US in April but on that occasion the following wind (2.2) was over the legal limit of 2 metres as against 1.0 in Belgrade.
He is now also South Africa's fastest of the year and fifth fastest African of all time.
In both races here Fourie was beaten by the eventual winner of the gold medal, Yin Jing of China in a fast 13.38 sec.
Edwin Molepo ran very well in the 3000m steeplechase final to finish 7th, improving his personal best by about 10 sec to 8 min 35.43 sec. The winner's time was 8:25.79 sec.
The men's 4 x 400m relay team also advanced to the final on Sunday after finishing in 3 min 08.51 sec, the fifth fastest time of the day.
Rafele Mahapa was the 12th finisher in the half-marathon in 1h 6 min 23 sec.
He was about 2 minutes behind the winner.
The SA team has now bagged two gold, two silver and two bronze medals. An extra medal in the relays is not out of the question. South Africa will also have two representatives in the 5000m final. - Sapa