CAPE TOWN – Shot put star Kyle Blignaut will be satisfied with his evening’s work at the Memorial Josefa Odlozila meeting in Prague on Monday as all his legal throws were over 20 metres on the night.
Having already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics earlier in the year, the big Tuks athlete was competing in his first event in Europe ahead of the Olympic Games.
Despite three no-throws, he was just 4cm away from victory.
While his personal best is 21.21m, which he produced earlier this year, his best effort on the day was 20.54m – with the other distances being 20.32m and 20.02m – which saw him claim third place behind Sweden’s Wictor Petersson on 20.58m, with Luxembourg’s Bob Bertemes second with 20.56m.
Blignaut will look to crank it up over the next few weeks in Europe, as a distance beyond 22 metres will be required if he is to be a serious factor in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, sprinter Thando Dlodlo will have to push harder in his next race to be part of the 100m squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
Having tasted success as part of the SA 4x100m team that won gold at the World Relays in Poland in early May, Dlodlo is hoping to post a qualifying time of 10.05 seconds to push for a spot as one of three South Africans in the 100m field.
But at the moment, those positions belong to Gift Leotlela (9.94), Akani Simbine (9.99) and Shaun Maswanganyi (10.04) after Dlodlo finished fourth in Prague on Monday night.
After making a good start out of the blocks, Dlodlo was unable to keep up with Liberia’s Emmanuel Matadi, who won in 10.07, while Panama’s Alonso Edward finished second in 10.09.
Nigeria’s Usheoritse Itsekiri ran a season’s best of 10.16 for third spot, and Dlodlo had to be satisfied with fourth in 10.30.
In the 400m, Berend Koekemoer looked in good shape over the first part of the race, and seemed to be challenging for the lead.
But the 25-year-old Tuks athlete, who hails from Graaff-Reinet and is making a comeback to the sport this year, faded over the final 100m to finish seventh in 48.14.
In the javelin, Johan Grobler nearly reached the 80m mark, but had to settle for seventh place in 76.63m.
The final SA men’s athlete who participated in Prague was 110m hurdler Tiaan Kleynhans, who finished last in a time of 13.74, well short of his personal best of 13.60.
The only female from Mzansi was javelin thrower Jo-Ane van Dyk, whose best effort on the night of 54.84m secured sixth position, with Czech Republic star Barbora Spotakova winning in 60.21m.