The Namibian (Windhoek)

29 June 2012

Namibia: Herunga Disqualified From 400m

DISASTER struck for Namibia at the African Athletics Championships in Porto Novo, Benin, when Tjipekapora Herunga was disqualified from the 400m.

Herunga was disqualified from Heat 5 of the 400m first round heats after jumping out of her blocks before the starting gun went off.

Namibia's other three athletes - Globine Mayova, Hitjiverue Kaanjuka and Frank Puriza - who competed on Wednesday however all qualified for the semifinals of their respective events.

It was a huge disappointment for Herunga as well as the Namibian team, since she was Namibia's best hope for a medal in Benin.

Namibian coach Letu Hamhola said they were very disappointed but would have to put it behind them and look ahead to the 200m which Herunga will also compete in.

"We are both very disappointed because we have worked hard for this and wanted to use it as preparation for the Olympic Games by going better then last year (when Herunga won bronze at the All Africa Games). We knew that Botswana's world champion Amantle Montsho would push us to a better time but now we have to refocus and prepare for the 200m," he said.

Montsho set the fastest time of the heats of 50,42 seconds, followed by Regina Grause of Nigeria (51,39) and Tsholofelo Thipe of South Africa (52,06).

Three other Namibian athletes however all qualified for the semifinals following their first round heats on Wednesday afternoon.

Globine Mayova came third in Heat 3 of the women's 100m in 12,10 to qualify for the semifinals. Ruddy Milama of Gabon set the fastest time of 11,33, followed by two Nigerian athletes - Gloria Asumnu (11,54) and Blessing Okagbare (11,60). Mayova had the 12th fastest time.

Hitjiverue Kaanjuka won Heat 8 of the Men's 100m in 10,69 seconds to qualify for the semifinals, with the 20th fastest time overall.

Abdourahim Haroun of Chad set the fastest time of 10,28, followed by Simon Magakwe of South Africa and Hua Koffi of the Ivory Coast who both clocked 10,39.

Frank Puriza qualified for the semifinals of the men's 400m after coming third in Heat 1 in a time of 47,37, which was the 17th fastest time of the heats.

Isaac Makwala of Botswana set the fastest time of 45,50, followed by Abiols Onakoys of Nigeria (46,04) and South Africa's para-athlete Oscar Pistorius (46,32).

The men and women's 100m semifinals as well as the men's 800m heats were postponed to Thursday due to heavy rain, with the result that Hitjiverue Kaanjuka, Globine Mayova and Daniel Nghipandulwa will now all be in action on Thursday.

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