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African champion Wenda Nel booked her spot to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio by winning the women’s 400m Hurdles National title with a World Lead (WL) of 54.84s on Day 1 of the South Africa Senior Championships in Stellenbosch.

The hurdler stunned in her first race of the season, while Anneri Moolman was 2nd in 58.66, with Youth Olympics GOLD medallist, Gezelle Magerman coming 3rd in 59.03s.

It was also an outstanding competition for 2011 World Championships Bronze medallist, L.J Van Zyl as he also qualified for the men’s 400m Hurdles at the Rio Games.

Van Zyl took the National title in 49.35s to finish ahead of Commonwealth champion, Cornel Fredericks (49.75s) who has been fighting to get back to the form that made him a threat to the world’s best. Van Zyl’s time is currently the 3rd fastest in the world.

Meanwhile Henricho Bruintjies emerged champion in the men’s 100m , causing one of the biggest upsets of the day as National Record (NR) Holder Akani Simbine was relegated to 2nd position.

Briuntjies clocked 10.17s as Simbine followed with a time of 10.21s. Incidentally, both athletes are being handled by the same coach. Emile Erasmus finished in 3rd place in 10.29s.

The same scenario also played out in the women’s 100m as Alyssa Conley upstaged team mate and favourite, Carina Horn (10.37s) to take the women’s title in 10.36s. Reigning African Junior champion, Tamzin Thomas was 3rd in 11.67s.

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Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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