Blignaut, Fourie and Thomas Standout Performances at Asa Grand Prix 3

Shot put giant Kyle Blignaut showed a return to form, while hurdler Marione Fourie and sprinter Tamzin Thomas continued to shine on the track at the third and final leg of the ASA Grand Prix Series in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night.

Competing in ideal conditions, after having a slow start to the season, Olympic finalist Blignaut released a 20.03m throw to win his specialist event.

While the block in the shot put circle broke, which delayed the start of the event by more than 40 minutes, Blignaut held his nerve to win comfortably, launching the shot nearly three metres further than Cian de Villiers who took second place with a best attempt of 17.28m

“I wanted to have a crack tonight and get some experience back because I haven’t competed much this year and I just wanted to get back into the thick of things,” Blignaut said. “I felt great tonight and I got over 20 metres, which is not bad at the moment.”

Fourie, meanwhile, stormed to victory in the 100m hurdles in 13.01, again showcasing her remarkable consistency. She was pushed all the way to the line, however, by Taylon Bieldt who grabbed the runner-up spot in 13.10.

“I had some technical issues and I didn’t run the race I wanted, but it’s ok,” Fourie said. “Taylon did push me and that helped a lot. I like having that competition from her.”

Earlier in the evening, Bieldt had also taken second place in the 400m hurdles in 55.90 after being edged out by Norwegian athlete Line Kloster who won in 55.87.

African record holder Antonio Alkana took the men’s 110m hurdles race in 13.45 and Le Roux Hamman won the men’s 400m hurdles contest in 50.36.

Thomas rocketed over the line twice, wrapping up a 100m/200m double.

First she won the 100m race in 11.49 seconds, before returning to the track to win the 200m event in 23.58.

In other sprint events, Kenyan athlete Samwel Imeta took the men’s 100m contest in 10.12 and 21 year-old Sinesipho Dambile won the 200m battle in 20.47.

Over the 400m distance, Zambian athlete Rhoda Njobvu clocked 52.25 to hold off a challenge from Marlie Viljoen (52.25) in the women’s contest, and Joel Semenya won the men’s race in 45.20.

Earlier, in the pre-programme, national record holder Clarence Munyai made a victorious return to the track, winning the men’s 200m B race in 20.56.

Among other highlights at the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting, long-distance specialist Carina Viljoen launched a thunderous kick down the home straight to win the women’s 800m race in 2:06.55, while James Seeliger held on to take the men’s two-lap race in 1:47.89.

Valco van Wyk sailed over the bar at 5.45m in the men’s pole vault, Hani Nikithemba landed at 7.92m in the men’s long jump, Victor Hogan took the men’s discus throw with a 62.95m heave and Waldouw Smit won the men’s javelin with a 79.55m throw. Jo-Ane van Dyk secured victory in the women’s javelin throw with a best effort of 57.64m, while Danielle Nolte landed at 6.37m in the women’s long jump and Yolandi Stander hurled the discus out to 58.80m.

Leandri Geel, who broke the SA record with a 66.11* heave in the women’s hammer throw a week earlier in Germiston, won her specialist event again with a 62.62m heave.

* All ASA records are subject to standard ratification procedures.

image: Tamzim Thomas (66) winning the 200m final. She had earlier won the 100m (photo Cecelia van Bers)

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