MORE THAN 400 MASTERS ATHLETES CONVERGE ON PORT ELIZABETH THIS WEEKEND

STAR MASTERS ATHLETES OF YESTERYEAR, TODAY AND TOMORROW WILL SHOWCASE THEIR TALENTS IN PORT ELIZABETH THIS WEEKEND AT THE 39TH SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Several of these athletes were top senior athletes in their day, some of whom are still competing at senior level, and many others who have successfully moved into the masters ranks, breaking S.A. age group records and winning several medals at World Masters Championships as they advance through the age groups.





































The sprints and 400m for ladies will be spearheaded by Adri Schoeman (44), former Olympian,  and winner of 2 sprint titles at the last World Championships in Brazil (2013).  Yolande van Aswegen, Leone Marais and Jennifer Booysen in the 30-44 age groups will be a force to be reckoned with as some of them have their sights set on the World Championships in Lyon in August.  Winnie de Winnaar (45-49) silver medallist at the last WCs, is an uncertain start at this stage due to injuries, Madelene van Rooyen (50-54) sprint and hurdle queen and Elaine Pretorius (55), winner of 400 and 800 titles at WCs are sure to continue with their duels. Toy Ungerer (65) gold/silver/bronze medallist in Brazil will be out be out to improve on her S.A. records.

In the Men sprints and jumps, the 30-40 age groups are sure to produce some exciting performances - Home-crowd favourite, Sergio Mullins, Rudi Jordaan, Bradley Steenberg, Rob Buck, Carel van Wyk (100+200), Christo Steyn in the  sprints 400 and hurdles as well as the Msipha twins, Edwin and Aldrin (40) will be looking for a 1-2 in the 400m.  Edwin recently clocked an age group PB 51.70.  Older age groups 55-59 will see Thomas Endrody in the sprints, high jump and pole vault, together with Johan Gouws in a tussle to improve on the HJ record.

The middle distance events is bound to have everyone on the edge of their seats.  Gavin da Silva (33) rising middle distance star in the 400, 800 and 1500 will have his races cut out for him with athletes from the older age groups (35-45) in hot pursuit - Shaun Abrahamse, Willie Bronkhorst,Tobias Philander and a welcome return to track by the wellknown Marius Hugo Slechter (50).  Len Claassen (64) who has participated in numerous World Championships where he medalled at the WC in Brazil in the 400 and 800, and still holds the S.A. 800m (M50) record of 2.01.86 and (M60) with a time of  2:16.49.

The ladies middle and long distances usually have a surprise or two at every championships with a welcome entry from Mandie Brandt (32), and the ever improving Salome Vermeulen (48), who is at the end of her age group, but still producing top performances.

The number of participants in the Walk events has grown to 81 and will produce top performances over the 5000m track and 10k and 21k roadwalk.

In the mens field events, Chris Harmse is expected to lead the pack with his participation in the individual weight throw and weight pentathlon (comprising of shotput, discus, javelin, hammerthrow and weight throw).
We are bound to see a national record or two from Chris in these events, but he will not have things all his own way with Martin Venter who holds numerous national field event records and who has medalled at the past 2 World Championships.

The ladies field events with Tanya Engelbrecht, Mercia Ferreira, Marilize Coetzee, Tertia Stoffberg and numerous newcomers should produce some excellent results and national records.

Add to that the upcoming World Masters Championships in Lyon, France in August, there should be
many a PB, national and maybe even world record or two !

Up and coming 'young' masters sprinters amongst the men and women are bound to add to
the excitement of the championships.  We have the likes of Rudi Jordaan, CGA (30-34),
Sergiou Mullins, EP (35-39) Bradley Steenberg, WP (35-39), Carel van Wyk, AGN (40-44)
who have been consistently running times in the early to mid  11secs in the 100 and
early 23 secs in the 200m.  The Msipha twins from CGA (40-44) have shown their talent
once again in the sprints and 400m and Edwin who recently clocked 51,77 will be hard to beat.

The 30- 39 ladies age group has shown an increase of participants and quality of performances
over the past 2 years, by names Yolande van Aswegen (CNW), who competed in the S.A. Seniors
recently, Leoni Mare in the sprints and 400  Jennifer Booyens in the 400.  In the older
age brackets Madelene van Rooyen (50-54), sprints and hurdles and Elaine Pretorius (55-59) sprints.

In the 80 year old plus group we have at least 10 octagenarians participating !   They are Monty Hacker (80) sprints (former WMA General Secretary and Acting President), Deirdre Larkin (83) 10 000m (yes that's right) who is running her debut race on the track, Christie du Plooy (83) in the sprints and 400m !   Ron Cross, sprints also has a number of world champs behind him, Ken Nurden a regular winner in road races, and the evergreen Henry Botha (85) will be supported by his home crowd.

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