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Fourie sets her sights on racing the 100m-hurdles final at the World Championships

A student from Pretoria and new national record holder in the 100m hurdles for women can make history at the Athletics World Championships, starting this weekend in Budapest.

When Marioné Fourie settles in her starting blocks to race the 100m hurdles at the World Championships in Budapest (Saturday 19 August – Sunday 27 August), she will aim to qualify for the final.

If she does, she will be the first South African female athlete to do so in the short hurdles race. She finished fifth in the semifinals during last year’s World Championships in Eugene, USA. Fourie clocked 12.93s to equal her personal best time.

A lot has changed since then. For one, the Tuks sports science student is a lot faster. In July, she set a new South African record running 12.55 seconds. Fourie has also grown in confidence. She already predicted in April that she would set a new record.

Her confidence was not unfounded. Fourie’s hurdling technique is near perfect. It has led to her being very consistent in the times she has been running. In South Africa, her winning times mainly varied between 13.01s and 12.98s. She has been better in Europe. She has consistently been running 12.7 seconds times.

Fourie will start the World Champs as the 12th fastest 100m hurdler. The USA’s Nia Ali, with a time of 12.30s, is the fastest.

She admits to having a slight case of the jitters.

“To be honest, I am more nervous before this World Championships than I was last year. I viewed last year as a learning experience. The difference now is that I have set myself a definite goal. That is to compete in the final. But in sports, you can never take anything for granted. I will have to be at my best,” she said just before the team’s departure.

However, Fourie believes being nervous is not all bad.

“From personal experience, being slightly nervous can be good as it gets the adrenaline pumping. Ensuring I am only focused on running my own race will be essential on race day. It boils down to controlling the controllable. It does not help to overthink things, as each race has unique challenges. So, I will take it one race at a time. Racing it to the best of my abilities,” she remarked.

According to the Tuks student, she is starting to be at her best from the fourth hurdle.

“That is when I reach my top speed, which I can carry through until the end. In the buildup to Worlds, I have worked to improve my start and to be ‘smoother’ over the first three hurdles,” Fourie commented.

It is given that no race is ever won on paper or by playing around with statistics. An athlete has got to put in the hard work to succeed. Still, when reading through the 100m-hurdles results of the last two Olympic Games and the last three World Championships, Fourie has a real chance to compete in the final and maybe even medal. Especially if she can come close to running 12.55 seconds.

During the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and 2017 World Champs, a time of 12.55s would have been good enough to win silver and during the 2021 Tokyo Games, bronze.


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