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Cornel Fredericks continues proud hurdles history

Cornel Fredericks continued a proud tradition in the 400m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games as he became the third South African champion in the history of the multi-sport event on Thursday.

Eight years after his training partner LJ van Zyl claimed the gold medal in the one-lap hurdles, Fredericks did it in emphatic style in a time 48.50 seconds.

Fredericks comfortably led from the start with world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago breathing down his neck.

The South African, however, kept his composure as he opened the lead to hold on to a memorable victory, with Gordon finishing second in a time of 48.75 sec and Bahaman Jeffery bagging bronze in 48.78 sec.

Gert Potgieter was the first South African to taste victory at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales.

South African 800m ace Andre Olivier ran a tactical race to claim a creditable bronze medal in the final that saw two of the greats over the two laps locking horns.

The men’s 800m final lived up to expectations as it turned into a tussle between Kenya’s David Rudisha, the fastest man of all time, and the third fastest, Nijel Amos of Botswana.

The Botswana athlete surged over the final 100m to claim victory in a time of 1min 45.18sec, with Rudisha taking silver in 1:45.48 and Olivier clocking 1:46.03.

There were scenes of celebrations between Amos and Olivier, who are training partners under coach Jean Verster in Potchefstroom.

South African sprinting star Akani Simbine qualified for the 200m final where he finished in fifth place, narrowly missing out on a medal with his best time of 20.37sec.

It was, however, a clean sweep of the podium for Jamaica as Rasheed Dwyer claimed gold in a time of 20.26sec.

He was followed by Warren Weir in 20.26 sec and Jason Livermore, who clocked 20.32sec.

The 20-year-old Simbine bounced back from the disappointment of narrowly missing out of a final berth in his specialist 100m sprint in which he holds the second fastest time by a South African.

South African discus thrower Victor Hogan and women’s 400m hurdles champion Wenda Nel also featured in finals on the night but fell well short of podium spots.


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