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Local athlete defends title

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Kruger entered the home straight and powered through the finish line in an inland hand (clocked) time of 2:22,09.

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Maricelle Kruger, the Northern Cape’s new athletics find, successfully defended her title in the girl’s Under-15 800m race held at the De Beers Stadium last weekend as part of the provincial school track and field championships.

Kruger did not have it easy on the day as Karli Bekker of Duineveld High School led the field from the opening 200m in a brisk 32 seconds, followed closely by the Diamantveld High athletics wunderkind (Maricelle Kruger).

Bekker maintained her lead and her pace through the 400m mark which she passed in 67 seconds, but couldn’t resist Kruger’s first charge with about 300m to go.

Kruger remained in pole position until it came to the final bend. Bekker gathered her strength around the curve but failed to sweep into the lead as Kruger entered the home straight and powered through the finish line in an inland hand (clocked) time of 2:22,09.

“I knew Bekker was well prepared and expected her to start like she did. It was hard to win but I felt good to push it in the finish.” “I think it was worth trying it so that I know what to work on before the SA Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships.” Maricelle said.

“My coach has been working with me the past week to make my race seamless and more tactical with my kick at the end. I guess it paid off, knowing that sub 2:20,00 is still within my reach.”

Kruger had started her season at the Diamantveld Invitational meeting on 3 February with a time of 2:25,90 in the 800m and 5:08,00 in the 1500m, sending out a clear signal that she is serious about the season ahead. The qualifying times for the school’s 800m is 2:22sec and the 1 500 m is 4:59.

Prior to the weekend’s meeting Kruger had not only improved her season opening time in the 800m to 2:22,06 but also set a new Northern Cape Secondary Schools Provincial and Athletics Griqualand West Girls Under-15 record at the TUKS Top 10 in Pretoria about three weeks ago.

Kruger’s coach Theo Senekal in earlier comments attributed to him, said the athlete, along with many others from the province, will not spare any effort in a bid to qualify for a place in the Northern Cape provincial team to the 2018 SA Schools Athletics National High Schools’ Track and Field Championships which will be held in Potchefstroom from March 21-24 at the McArthur athletics stadium.