The SA track and field season is only into its second meeting and already there are three athletes who have qualified IAAF A-standard for the 2007 World Championships.
Elizna Naude set the standard in Secunda on 26 January, when she came desperately close to her own SA and Africa record of 63.17m. Naude had a series of five throws over 61m – the IAAF A-Qualification standard; the longest of which hit 62.66m.
At the second Yellow Pages Ultimate Athletics meeting in Potchefstroom on 2 February, Africa Javelin Champion Justine Robbeson kept the crowd on tenterhooks, before she launched a 62.51m throw in the last round to also qualify IAAF A-standard.
Robbeson, a former World Junior Champion in the heptathlon, switched to the javelin after sustaining numerous injuries. In 2006 she went over 60m in five competitions in Europe and finished third at the IAAF World Cup in Athletics in Athens.
Robbeson also set a new African and South African record of 62.80m in Kuortane, ending the year ranked eleventh in the world.
“I still see myself as the underdog in world athletics which is good; it keeps the pressure off me. My benchmark this year is nothing less than 60m and I’ve started on a good platform. If I stay injury free this could be a very good year,” Robbeson said.
Naude and Robbeson have earned themselves a R10 000 bonus courtesy of Yellow Pages for making the A-Qualification standard.
The way that qualification for the World Championships works, is that any country can send a maximum of three athletes who qualify A-Standard per event.
World Champions are given a wild card, which explains why some countries have 4 athletes at the World Championships.
Should no athlete reach the A-Standard, a country is then entitled to send one athlete per discipline, providing they have achieved the B-Qualification standard.
The World Championships take place in Osaka, Japan from 25 August to 2 September.