Sandra Steenkamp breaks the tape to set a new 50km South African record, in SA’s first ever IAAF-approved Race Walking Championships – also an Olympic qualifier – at the Youngsfield Military Base in Cape Town on Saturday. Photo: John Hishin

The 51 year-old Sandra Steenkamp broke the South African record in the 50km walk at the SA Race Walking Championships, South Africa’s first ever IAAF-approved Race Walking Championships and Olympic qualifier at the Youngsfield Military Base in Cape Town on Saturday 8 October.

Steenkamp (Gauteng North) dominated in the women’s 50km walk, looking very comfortable throughout the race, and finished more than 30 minutes ahead of her closest competitor.

Steenkamp pictured on the way to improving her own South Africa record by more than 30 seconds. Photo: John Hishin	She improved her own SA record (5:18.36) when she crossed the line in 5:17.55, with the same big smile on her face as she had throughout the race.

Teammate Elize van Eeden finished in 5:48.12, while Trudi Carstens took the bronze medal in 6:18.50.

In the same distance for senior women, Michelle Hopkins (CGA) took gold in 1:54.34 while teammate Nomsa Buthelezi finished in 2:00.46 in 2nd position. Third place went to Elmarie Bezuidenhout (EPA) in 2:01.27.

In the 10km junior women’s race, Inge Kotze (CNW) was just not fast enough and had to be satisfied as Rose Shabalala claimed the gold medal in 1:00.05. Her time of 1:00.41 was just marginally slower, but not good enough for gold. Nthatisi Mokhele finished 3rd ¬– almost 10 minutes behind, her time 1:10.52.

Elsa Meyer competed in the 20km race for Masters Women and clocked 2:04:14, a new SA Masters record. In the team competition Central Gauteng Athletics won the team prize while Western Province athletics came second. Gauteng North finished in 3rd position.

Event judges included the Chief Judge for the 2012 Olympic Games, Steven Taylor (UK), George Kariuki (Kenya) and Maris Petersen (RUS). They all did a spectacular job and took time off afterwards to talk to athletes and give guidelines.