DISTANCE RUNNERS DELIVER IN PE

 
Updated: April 20, 2016

Middle-distance runners produced some thrilling contests on Tuesday night, at the third leg of the ASA Night Series in Port Elizabeth, with most athletes battling fatigue just three days after the SA Senior Championships came to a close in Stellenbosch.
Competing in cool, wet conditions, the men’s 1 500m field went out hard, attacking the qualifying standard of 3:36.20 for the Rio Olympics.
With Elroy Gelant offering to take up the pace for the first few laps, Dumisane Hlaselo and Jerry Motsau went with him, but after Gelant dropped out it became a tactical affair between the two leading contenders.
Pushing with a long drive for home, Hlaselo held off Motsau by 0.25 to secure victory in 3:39.49.
“We were heading for the qualifier but somewhere, somehow we weren’t able to do what was supposed to be done down here,” said Hlaselo, who earned the silver medal at the national championships on Saturday.
“But we are coming from a championship, so we have a bit of fatigue because of travelling, so that maybe caught us.
“The conditions were perfect but I just didn’t have that ‘oomph’ to make it happen today.”
In the men’s 5 000m event, Gladwin Mzazi and Sibusiso Nzima were locked in a tight battle, with the lead changing hands throughout the race.
Mzazi proved too strong down the finishing straight, however, and drew clear to cross the line in 13:54.99. Nzima took second place in 13:56.49.
In an equally hard-fought contest, Lebogang Phalula was triumphant in the women’s 1 500m.
Phalula won the race in 4:20.64, with junior prospect Simonay Weitsz holding on for second position in 4:22.03 as she edged Mandie Brandt (4:22.09) into third.
Meanwhile, Olympic 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana dropped down in distance to bag the men’s 400m title in 45.73, in the absence of hurdles specialist LJ van Zyl who was withdrawn from the start lists.
Another hurdler, Wenda Nel, clocked 53.02 to win the women’s flat 400m race, working on her speed ahead of the international season.
In-form Western Cape star Antonio Alkana was triumphant in the men’s 110m hurdles event in 13.67, crossing the line 0.08 ahead of Tshepo Lefete.
Junior athlete Tamzin Thomas outclassed her senior opposition to win the women’s 200m race in 23.89, and teenager Baboloki Thebe of Botswana stunned local favourite Roscoe Engel to bag the men’s half-lap title in 21.04.
On the infield, veteran hammer throw specialist Chris Harmse, who earned his 21st consecutive national title at the weekend, was again victorious with a best effort of 72.49m.
Pretoria giant Orazio Cremona dominated the men’s shot put with a 20.05m heave.

* Full results are available in our Results section