Coetzenburg To Come Alive

by | Feb 28, 2007

Tebogo Masehla shows her form in Port Elizabeth during 2006.The last time a South African record was broken on the track of Coetzenburg was in 1998 when Susan Vermeulen was timed at 23:15;51 for the 5000m walk.

The track in Coetzenburg is renowned for fast times in the middle and long distance events, and ASA is hoping that this Friday night at the Yellow Pages Ultimate Athletics, new records are once again set.

Tebogo Masehla is the current SA Record holder in the 3000m steeplechase for women (10:01;14, Bellville – 17 February, 2006).

In Port Elizabeth under challenging conditions and without the assistance, Masehla ran 10:05;51 in a virtual solo attempt at the record and an IAAF B-Qualifier (9:58;00).

That Masehla has the ability, is without question; the question that needs answering is really whether someone is the in the shape to go with her when she attacks as she normally does.

In 2006, the only athlete who had the ability to match Masehla pound for pound  was Western Province’s Nolene Conrad.

In an epic week the two swapped the record twice. First it took a record time for Nolene Conrad to win the National title in Port Elizabeth (10:05:30).

A week later Conrad was powerless to stop a rampant Masehla romp home in a time of 10:01;14 in front of Conrad’s home crowd. Masehla took more than 4seconds off the record Conrad had set a week earlier.

Could this rivalry be rekindled at Coetzenburg? Masehla certainly hopes so. After her solo effort in Oudtshoorn, where the heat put paid to any record attempts, Masehla was disconsolate that none of the athletes had tried to go with her.

“Of course I want to win, but I want to win in a fast time. That is only possible if some of the athletes go with me. If we work together then the record can go and we can run sub 10 minutes.”

Running sub-10 minutes would mean a ticket to the World Championships and a new South African record which comes with a R30 000 bonus. There is no doubt that Masehla will attempt to yet again break her own record.

But will any of the athletes be able to stay with her and help her?

If the answer is yes, then Coetzenburg will once again have an entry in the South African Record books.

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