Track & Field News

Van Niekerk Breaks SA 400m Record… Again

Wayde Van Niekerk made a little bit of history at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris when he became the first African to dip below 44 seconds for one lap of the track, when he ran 43.96 on Saturday the 4th of July. The 22-year-old South African not only snatched his first victory in the Diamond Race but also announced himself as a genuine world title contender as he beat London 2012 Olympic Games champion Kirani James, handing the Grenadian his first defeat of the year and moving up to 10th on the all-time list for the event. With van Niekerk on his outside, James strained every sinew in lane four to make up ground in the home straight but had to settle for second in 44.17. US champion David Verburg was well back in third in 44.81.


On a night of five world leads on the track but a series of disappointments for the French fans, at least sprinter Jimmy Vicaut was able to send the crowd home happy after matching the European 100m record.

Vicaut ran 9.86, equalling Francis Obikwelu’s 2004 mark, to finish second behind Asafa Powell in the Stade de France.

The latter clocked 9.81, his quickest time for four years, to win a race that was meant to feature his fellow-Jamaican Usain Bolt.

Mike Rodgers took third for the USA in 9.99, ensuring three men ran under 10 seconds for third time this year.

Vicaut’s area record was the third of the night, following van Niekerk and Evan Jager, who set a North American record in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

The results of the steeplechase will show another world lead for 2014 Diamond Race winner Jairus Birech as the Kenyan notched up another victory, but the bald facts don’t tell half the story for Birech was well beaten before the final barrier by the outstanding Jager who had kicked away over the last 600m.

Just as the US champion looked as if he would claim a famous victory, he clattered the last hurdle and tumbled flat on the track, allowing his long-time shadow to streak past for an unlikely victory in 7:58.83, a meeting record and the night’s first world-leading performance.

How close Jager came to claiming that mark for himself. He had dragged Birech away from the rest with three laps to go and opened a five-metre lead with 600 metres left.

Birech closed briefly before the bell but the American was having the run of his life and streaked away down the back straight and over the final water jump.

Flat out

But just when he had the finish line in sight, his form failed him.

The pony-tailed runner earned a pretty good consolation prize, though, as he picked himself up to finish second in 8:00.45, smashing his own US and North American records.

“The stupid mistake cost me the sub-eight minutes, one of my big goals,” rued Jager afterwards. “Of course, I’m happy I made the Kenyans worried. I train for that. Today, I proved I can compete for the top position at the World Championships.”

There were two more world leads just a few minutes later as the ever consistent Eunice Sum took her 800m personal best down below 1:57 for the first time, and the irrepressible Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce blasted to 10.74 in the 100m, 0.05 quicker than her Jamaican championships win a week ago and just 0.04 away from her national record.

Sum supreme

Sum clocked 1:56.99 after Ilona Usovich had taken her through 400m in 56.33.

The Kenyan followed the Belarus pacer to 500m before kicking for home chased by Cuba’s Rose Mary Amanza who also ran a personal best with 1:57.70.

Selina Buchel took more than two-tenths from her best when runnng a Swiss record of 1:57.95 in third while, in what was surely the best 800m of the year so far, there were best as well for the US pair of Molly Ludlow in fourth and Chanelle Price in fifth, with 1:58.68 and 1:59.10 respectively.

Fraser-Pryce was pressed hard by Blessing Okagbare who had beaten her easily in Shanghai back in May.

This time the Jamaican was more than a match for the Nigerian and thrust ahead to win by 0.06.

USA’s English Gardner was well beaten into third in 10.97.

The crowd barely had time to catch breath before another world lead fell in the men’s 1500m as Silas Kiplagat outkicked Ayanleh Souleiman to take his second Diamond League victory of the year in 3:30.12.

The Djibouti runner was just 0.05 behind his Kenyan rival while Ronald Kwemoi dipped ahead of Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi, 3:30.43 to 3:30.50.

Orlando Ortega produced his first sub-13 second performance to win the men’s 110m hurdles in yet another world-leading time.

The Cuban came late to overtake David Oliver on the line in 12.94 as the world champion also dipped under 13 seconds for the first time in 2015.

He thrust his chest out to stop the clock at 12.98 while Sergey Shubenkov took 0.03 from his own Russian record in third with 13.06.

Zuzana Hejnova looked to be approaching her pre-injury form from two years ago in the women’s 400m hurdles. The Czech 2013 world champion ran a season’s best and fell just short of the world lead with 53.76.

Behind her two athletes clocked national records: Sara Petersen lowering Denmark’s national mark to 53.99 while Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya was third in 54.12.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF

Coaching Clinic – 1 August 2015

Everyone is invited to a coaching clinic scheduled for Saturday the 1st of August at Port natal School, Umbilo, Durban (gps coord: s29.52818 e30.58951). The clinic will run from 08H00 till 14H00 and will cover all disciplines in track & field. The program will be split into 4 sessions which will allow attendees and athletes to get exposure to more than one discipline or group of events. Anyone is welcome to attend the clinic and you do not have to belong to a club or be an active coach. So whether you are a coach at a club/school, teacher, parent or interested in getting involved, this is the place to be. We are also inviting/encouraging athletes and scholars to attend as well, as they can participate in the practical sessions.

The program will be facilitated by various ASA accredited coaches. The final program and list of facilitators will be confirmed in due course. Entry fees for attending are R75.00 for adults and R30.00 for scholars.

The event is hosted by CKS athletics and you can contact Clyde Kinloch on 082 572 3408 or via email on to book your spot or for any enquiries about the event.

T&F: Winter League Cancelled

Please take note that that the winter track & field meeting scheduled for Friday the 19th of June at Kingspark in Durban, has been cancelled. This is due to the closure of Kingspark by the municipality for planned upgrade maintenance. Please contact the KZNA office at 031 312 9374 if you have any enquiries about the cancelled event.

New SA 400m Record

South African sprinting ace Wayde van Niekerk blitzed to a new national record in the men’s 400m at the New York Diamond League meeting on Saturday.
Van Niekerk returned to the venue where he first smashed the national mark in a time of 44.38 seconds to shave 0.14 off his previous best, clocking 44.24. The Free State athlete’s time is the third this season, with only Granada’s Kirani James’ times of 43.95 and 44.22 faster than Van Niekerk.

CLICK HERE to watch the video (He is in lane 5)

Van Niekerk won the gold medal with Christopher Brown of the Bahamas taking silver in 44.74 and Tony McQuay bagging bronze with 45.26.

It is the second time in a week that Van Niekerk managed to improve on a national mark after he smashed the 300m record at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on Sunday.

Van Niekerk launched himself into 10th place on the world all-time list in the 300m with a time of 31.63 to shave 0.52 off Morne Nagel’s record from 2006.

In the process he also broke the African record of 31.74 held by Ivorian Gabriel Tiacoh since 1986.

Ockert de Villiers – Sport24

IAAF Interview: Kirani James

Kirani James is currently the 2015 world leading athlete in the men 400m event. James is one of only nine athletes (along with Valerie Adams, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jacques Freitag, Yelena Isinbayeva, Jana Pittman, Dani Samuels and David Storl) to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event. His personal best is a 43.74 which he ran in 2014. This year he already top the rankings with the best 3 times thus far (43.95 the world lead). Amazingly he is still only 22 years old.

Watch Alto Boldon interview with KIRANI JAMES

Video of KIRANI JAMES’s 2015 world lead (He is in lane 4)

KIRANI JAMES’s profile

2015 Diamond League Highlights: Oslo

Sprinting sensation Anaso Jobodwana produced a silver-medal run in the 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo on Thursday.
The South African record holder in the half-lap sprint finished in second place in a time of 20.39 with Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre taking first place in 20.21 while Richard Kilty of the United Kingdom bagged third in 20.54.

Jobodwana improved on his mark at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, United States two weeks ago when he posted a time of 20.04 seconds to shave 0.02 seconds off the record he set in the Cayman Islands on May 16.

South African javelin queen Sunette Viljoen finished in second place with a best heave of 64.36m with Marharyta Dorozhon of Israel claiming the gold with a throw of 64.56m.

Olympic champion Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic finished third place with 64.10m.

Meanwhile, South African long jumpers Khotso Mokoena and Zarck Visser missed out on podium spots with the duo finishing in fifth and sixth place respectively with neither leaping further than eight metres on the night.


2015 Diamond League Highlights: Birmingham

Moments after crossing the line in the 200m at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix, USA’s Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix were given the same time of 22.29 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday (7).The pair probably felt a slight sense of déjà vu.

CLICK HERE to see HIGHLIGHTS from the event
Three years earlier at the US Olympic Trials, Tarmoh and Felix had finished joint third in the 100m. With the Olympic berths going to the top three finishers, the training partners had to be separated somehow. After talk of a re-run and even the flipping of a coin, Tarmoh eventually let Felix have the place on the team.

In Birmingham, though, Tarmoh finally gained redemption.

Although both she and Felix were credited with the same time, Tarmoh was given the victory. It was the first time that Tarmoh had finished ahead of Felix in a 200m race.

But it wasn’t just a two-woman affair. World junior champion Dina Asher-Smith, fresh from her British 100m record of 11.02 little more than a week ago, held the lead coming off the bend.

She maintained her composure as Felix and Tarmoh edged closer to her, but crossed the line just a fraction behind the US pair and was rewarded with a personal best of 22.30.

“I didn’t think it would be that fast,” said Tarmoh after coming within 0.01 of her best. “I was shocked to win over Allyson and I stayed focused and patient. Now I’m definitely confident I’ll get a spot on the US team for the World Championships. And if I get on the podium in Beijing, that would be a blessing.”

Bracy upstages Rodgers
Before the meeting, US champion Mike Rodgers was perhaps the slight favourite in the men’s 100m, which he appeared to confirm when he won the first heat in 10.04.

But world indoor 60m silver medallist Marvin Bracy responded with a 9.97 win in the next heat to set up a mouth-watering clash in the final.

Bracy showed his earlier run was no fluke and sped to victory in the final with a best of 9.93, with a perfect breeze of 2.0m/s on his back.

In second place, Britain’s European 200m champion Adam Gemili prevented a US one-two, clocking a PB of 9.97 before crashing to the track with a torn hamstring.

Rodgers finished a close third in 9.97, 0.03 ahead of Nesta Carter while Great Britain’s world indoor champion Richard Kilty ran a best of 10.05 in fifth.

Third Birmingham wins for Harper Nelson and Spencer
Jasmin Stowers hasn’t had the best of weeks.

After her stunning start to the season, including clocking a world-leading 12.35 in Doha, the 100m hurdler from the USA hit a hurdle in Rome and fell on Thursday. In Birmingham, she was disqualified for a false start.

But things are looking up, meanwhile, for 2014 Diamond Race winner Dawn Harper Nelson. She finished eighth in Doha but improved to second place in Rome before her victory in Birmingham.

European champion Tiffany Porter and world champion Brianna Rollins were ahead at halfway, but Harper Nelson came through at the end to win in a season’s best of 12.58 (1.5m/s).

It was her third consecutive win in Birmingham following victories in 2014 and 2013 and her fastest one to date. Rollins clocked a season’s best of 12.63 in second, just 0.02 ahead of Porter.

Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer also achieved her third win at this meeting. The 2014 Diamond Race winner had won here in 2012 and 2013 and set a season’s best of 54.45 to win here on Sunday.

Spencer went off cautiously but had built up a lead before entering the home stretch. Her clearances over the last two hurdles weren’t the cleanest, but she did enough to hold off USA’s Cassandra Tate, who finished second in 54.73, while world champion Zuzana Hejnova finished third in a season’s best of 55.00.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

2015 Diamond League Highlights: Rome

Yomif Kejelcha, amazingly still only 17, became the first runner to run faster than 13 minutes in the 5000m this year when he beat a strong field to win in 12:58.39 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday (4). In a stadium that, almost 20 years ago to the day, saw Moses Kiptanui set a world record of 12:55.30, it was an appropriate way to celebrate that anniversary.

CLICK HERE to view VIDEO highlights of the event
Kejelcha came through the pack down the home straight to take more than 12 seconds off his best, set when winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene last Friday, just edging out Kenya’s Paul Tanui, who had towed the field through much of the second half of the race before finishing second in a personal best of 12:58.69.

In an entertaining race, particularly over the last two laps with no fewer than eight runner seriously in contention, another three ran faster than 13 minutes in a mass finish. Doha 3000m winner Hagos Gebrhiwet finished third in 12:58.69, his Ethiopian compatriot Imane Merga clocked 12:59.04 in fourth and Kenya’s Thomas Longosiwa came home fifth in 12:59.78.

Earlier, there was another Ethiopian victory, with world 800m champion Mohammed Aman winning over two laps of the track in a world-leading 1:43.56.

After a 50.42 first lap by pacemaker Bram Som, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse took pole position when the Dutchman dropped out shortly after the bell.

Bosse still had the edge coming off the bend and into the home straight but was clearly starting to struggle as the majority of the field came past him.

In front over the final 70 metres was Aman who successfully held off Nijel Amos, the fastest man in the world over two laps of the track last year, who finished second in 1:43.80.

The late withdrawal of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, due to a slight problem while warming up, left the 200m field wide open and Jessica Tarmoh took full advantage of the absence of the world champion.

Tarmoh pulled away from the field over the final 80 metres and, although she has run faster on a number of occasions, got what can be probably classed as the biggest of her international career when she crossed the line in 22.77.

The early events on the programme in the field saw two favourites triumph and one slight upset.

Olympic, world and European champion Sandra Perkovic continued her unbeaten run this year and tossed her implement out to 67.92m in the second round.

It was actually her shortest mark of her three outings this year but such is her high level of consistency, she was still more than two metres better than 2009 world champion Dani Samuels, the Australian finishing second after an opening effort of 65.47m.

Much was expected of Denia Caballero after her massive improvement to 69.51m in Havana last Friday, but the Cuban looked lethargic in the circle, perhaps the result of jet-lag, and only had one valid throw before finishing ninth with a relatively modest 61.25m.

David Storl had to come from behind to win the shot put but Germany’s two-time world champion showed his class in the third round.

Following Jordan Clarke’s near-personal best of 21.28m in the second round to take the lead, Storl responded with 21.46m one round later and, for good measure, reached 21.41m in the fourth round.

Clarke’s early effort held up for a slightly surprising second place in only his second European meeting and against a field that included a number major championship medallists, including world silver medallist and two-time world indoor champion Ryan Whiting.

After a couple of what she was to diplomatically describe as unsatisfactory outings in Doha and Eugene, the cards finally fell in Darya Klishina’s favour in the long jump.

With a perfect 2.0m/s breeze on her back for her second attempt, the two-time European indoor champion produced her best jump of the year and reached 6.89m in the second round.

No one could overtake her during the rest of the competition and she took the four points in the Diamond Race.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF

Special General Meeting Notice

On behalf of the President of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, Mr Sello Mokoena, I hereby give notice of the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Special General Meeting to be held as follows:

Date : Saturday, 18 July 2015
Venue : Kingsmead Sahara Cricket Stadium
Cnr of Old Ford Road and Masabalala Yengwa, DURBAN

Time : Strictly Commencing at 09h00
Ending at 11h00
(2 Hours)


1. Welcome, Attendance and Apologies
2. AGM Commission Reports:
• Athletes Commission
• Cross Country Commission
• Road Commission
• Track and Field Commission
3. Amendments to Constitution
4. Closure

Kindly note the following:

 All Clubs, Executive members, Commissions/Committees members, Associate members and Special members are to indicate whether they have received this notice by responding to it either by E-mail ( or facsimile (031-3032728).

 Please indicate attendance at this meeting by completing the “Attendance Form’ and ticking the appropriate box.

These replies are to be forwarded to KZN Athletics by Friday, 04 July 2015.

I look forward to your co-operation.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Dees Govender
KZN Athletics

CLICK HERE to download official notice
CLICK HERE to download 2010 constitution
CLICK HERE to download amendments