Cape Town — South Africa ruled the 400m hurdles in the men’s and women’s categories as they grabbed 11 medals on the final day of the African athletics championships in Mauritius on Sunday.
Mzansi’s finest finished on 36 medals, the most in the competition, as they added three gold, four silver and four bronze on the last day.
And it was in one of the toughest races, the 400m hurdles, where South Africa ruled the roost.
Former world junior champion Zeney van der Walt led the way in the women’s race, storming to victory in a reasonable time of 56.00 seconds in wet conditions. She was followed by Taylon Bieldt in second in 56.67, while the experienced Wenda Nel ended seventh in 60.43 in her final continental event before she retires at the end of the season.
In the men’s race, former world under-18 and under-20 champion Sokwakhana Zazini took the honours in a solid time of 49.42, while fellow SA athlete Leroux Hamman finished fifth in 51.68.
The third gold medal for Team SA also came in the 400m-related event, the women’s 4x400m relay, where the quartet of Zeney van der Walt, Taylon Bieldt, Miranda Coetzee and Precious Molepo won in a superb time of 3:29.34, which wasn’t far off the national record of 3:28.49.
The other track medallists for South Africa were 800m star Prudence Sekgodiso (bronze, 2:03.46), Ryan Mphahlele (men’s 1 500m, silver, 3:36.74) and Clarence Munyai (men’s 200m, bronze, 20.69), while Wayne Snyman took the silver in the men’s 20km walk in 1:20.05, just a second behind champion Samuel Gathimba of Kenya.
There was more success in the field, with Kyle Blignaut grabbing a silver (20.60m) in the men’s shot put, Mpho Links a bronze (2.15m) in the men’s high jump and Phil-Mar Janse van Rensburg securing a bronze (74.10m) in the men’s javelin.