No luck for SA sprinters in Osaka

South Africa’s woes continued on Tuesday at the 11th World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, when sprinters Morne Nagel and Christiaan Krone failed to get past the first round.

A poor first 30m put paid to Krone’s debut at world-championship level, but the Tukkies athlete went out with his pride intact in a heat won by American Rodney Martin in 20,44 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Paul Hession.

Recovering from the slow start, Krone came off the bend in good form, but tied up over the final 20m to record 20,85 seconds, a time missing qualification as one of the eight fastest losers by 0,4 seconds.

“I was happy with my run coming off the bend, but just didn’t have enough speed endurance; possibly I lost too much training through the injury. It may be I’m a couple of races off form,” said the youngster, referring to the hip flexor he pulled in his final European race before Algiers.

“It’s an amazing feeling; I am so privileged to run in front of a crowd like this. I’ll be back. I’ve learnt so much from this experience,” he continued, displaying a refreshing approach that seemed missing in a number of the more established athletes.

Despite the fastest start, Nagel never looked anything other than a part-player with a walk-on role in the first heat, which was won by Japan’s Shinji Takahira in 20,83 seconds, ahead of Jamaican Christopher Williams.

“I felt the preparation went well, but it was tough over the last 50m. Perhaps it was the humidity,” said the experienced Nagel, whose seventh-placed 21,35 seconds fell far short of reasonable expectations and his 20,32-second season best.

Nagel’s heat was the slowest of the day, only 0,2 seconds faster than Krone’s fifth-placed time.

Excluding the marathon runners, of the nine South African athletes who have competed so far only three have progressed past the first round, none has gone two rounds and one was withdrawn before her quarterfinal heat.

The South African team are looking to sprinter Geraldine Pillay and javelin throwers Hardus Pienaar and Robert Oosthuizen to turn things around on Wednesday morning.—Sapa

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