CONRAD SMASHES NATIONAL BEST IN 2 000M STEEPLE

 
Updated: May 17, 2016

Distance runner Nolene Conrad kicked off her international campaign with a podium finish on Monday, overcoming cold and windy conditions in the women’s 2 000m steeplechase race at a domestic permit meeting in Rehlingen, Germany.
The 30-year-old athlete took third place in 6:34.72, setting the fastest ever time by a South African woman over the rarely run distance as she eclipsed the previous national best of 6:45.57 set by junior athlete Angela Wagner in July 2007.
Conrad had focused on the road over the last few seasons, but after making an unsuccessful Olympic qualifying attempt over the marathon distance in Cape Town late last year (2:47:46), she opted to return to the track in an effort to book her place at the Rio Games in August.
Facing a hard slog on the European circuit to achieve her goal, Conrad needs to chop nearly a minute off her season’s best of 10:38.35 in the 3 000m steeplechase and take more than nine seconds off the SA record held by Tebogo Masehla (9:54.19) in order to meet the Olympic qualifying standard of 9:45.00.
Her performance over the shorter distance in Rehlingen, however, indicated she was gaining momentum with nearly two months remaining before the qualifying deadline.
Gesa Krause of Germany, the World Championships bronze medallist, won the race in 6:09.46.
Thando Roto, meanwhile, was the best of the five-strong SA contingent in the men’s 100m event.
Roto finished second in the final of the short dash in 10.41, clocking the same time as winner Mosito Lehata of Lesotho, with junior compatriot Gift Leotlela ending third in 10.48 after athletes faced a -1.4m/s headwind.
Roscoe Engel took sixth position in 10.65, while teenager Malesela Senona was fourth in the B final in 11.23, after his 10.99 performance in the heats.
Clarence Munyai did not turn out in the B final, having trailed home in 11.73 in the heats, apparently nursing a tight hamstring in the unfavourable conditions.