28 August 2011

South Africa: Pistorius Shines As SA Struggle

Photo: Elias Makori/The Nation
Kenya's steeplechase runner Ezekiel Kemboi with Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba at the World Athletics Champs 2009 in Berlin. (file photo)

Daegu, South Korea — Double amputee Oscar Pistorius produced the lone quality effort in a disappointing second day for the South African athletics team at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, on Sunday.

Pistorius made history by finishing third in his 400m heat in the morning session, clocking 45.39 -- the second fastest time of his career -- to progress to the semi-finals.

He was 14th fastest of the qualifiers and will line-up in lane seven in the third semi-final on Monday afternoon.

Pistorius said he was pleased to have progressed beyond the first round, but remained realistic about his chances of reaching the final against a strong field in the one-lap sprint.

"I very happy with the way it went," Pistorius said, "but I've looked at the times and I've got to be realistic.

"I'm going to have to run consistently, like I did today, and match my best to make the final."

Stephen Mokoka struggled against a superb field, finishing 13th in 28:51.97 in the men's 10 000m final.

Ethiopian Imbrahim Jeilan won gold in 27:13.81, storming past Mo Farah of Great Britain just before the line.

Lehann Fourie, meanwhile, was eliminated in the first round of the men's 110m hurdles, finishing seventh in his heat in 13.86.

"I had a bad start. When I tried to get back my rhythm I clipped the third and fifth hurdles and never really recovered," Fourie said.

Simone du Toit finished second last in the women's discus throw qualifiers, placing 13th in her group with a best effort of 15.83m with her first attempt.

South African record holder Willem Coertzen was knocked out after eight disciplines in the men's decathlon.

Lying 14th with 4 099 points at the halfway stage overnight, Coertzen placed fifth in his heat in the 110m hurdles in 14.45.

He then improved his personal best in the discus throw, with a 43.13m heave, but failed with three attempts at 4.10m in the pole vault.

LJ van Zyl, the fastest in the world this year, and countryman Cornel Fredericks, ranked fifth, will line up in the first round of the men's 400m hurdles on Monday morning.

Wenda Theron faces a stiff challenge in the heats of the women's one-lap hurdles, and will struggle to progress.

Ruben Ramolefi toes the line in the first round of the men's 3 000m steeplechase.

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