Even at the ripe old athletic age of 38, South African shot putter Burger Lambrechts continues to chase down his Olympic dream.
Lambrecht only returned to the sport in 2010, after a five year break because of injury. In Germiston yesterday, however, at the Yellow Pages interprovincial series, he showed he still has plenty to offer, his throw of 20.12 metres gaining him automatic qualification for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul from March 9 to 11.
“I’ve hit a peak now, because one of my main aims was to go to the world indoors,” said Lambrecht.
“This is my fourth competition of the year … I’m very happy I did it on the last day, because qualifying closes tomorrow!”
Next up for Lambrechts will be achieving the Olympic A standard of 20.5 metres, which would get him to a third Summer Olympic games later this year, having already competed in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
“Isn’t that the ultimate dream of any athlete?” said Lambrechts.
“Since I was nine years that was my specific goal … to win the shot put at the Olympics. That’s the main thing, but even if I don’t make it the world indoors is also a major competition.”
Lambrechts who holds a lifetime best of 20.63 metres, does feel that he could make that Olympic standard.
“It felt today that there was possibly a 20.5, not much more, it’s on the limits ... if I can throw that at the world indoors, that would basically automatically qualify me, having thrown the A standard in an international competition. It would also probably be a top eight at the world indoors and the Olympics.”
First Lambrechts will have to adapt to the conditions indoors, where he has not competed for some time.
“… the last time I threw indoors was 17 years ago! It’s a different surface, it’s much slicker,” he said.
Lambrechts also has one more appearance in the Yellow Pages interprovincial series in Belville next week.
In other events yesterday, Charlene Potgeiter broke the South African record for the women’s triple jump, leaping 13.61metres.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Potgeiter afterward, who is now targeting at least the Olympic B standard of 14.1 metres.
“I’m jumping further than I jumped today in training. It’s just a question of getting the rhythm right,” said Potgeiter.
Oscar Pistorius ran in the men’s 200 metres, though he had some problems in his heat, and ended up effectively pulling out with 50 metres to go.
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, meanwhile, had to pull out of the men’s 800 metres, to go home to Venda to be with his ill father.