Top local sprinter Paul Gorries’ expected return to top-level athletics at the first Yellow Pages Series meeting in Port Elizabeth is in jeopardy due to a niggling hamstring injury.
Gorries is entered for the one-lapper at the first of six meetings in the series, which takes place at the Xerox NMMU Athletics Stadium on February 19.
According to his coach, Magda Botha, the 28-year-old had strained a hamstring during training about a week-and-a-half ago.
“We are monitoring the injury and will make a final decision on Monday. It (the injury) seems to be responding well too treatment.”
Botha said Gorries – who grabbed the attention of the athletics world when he won the 100m gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Moscow in 1998 – had already resumed training.
“Paul is feeling okay, but we don’t want to take any chances this early in the season.”
Botha – a national coach in the sprinting, hurdles and relay disciplines – said the Yellow Pages Series was the “biggest gift” that local athletes could ever hope for and that it would be a shame if Gorries had to withdraw.
She said the South African Championships in Durban from March 21 and the Africa Championships in Nairobi at the end of July – where the top two in each event will be selected for the World Cup in Croatia in September – were Gorries’ major objectives.
He was part of the Africa team that won bronze in the 400m relay in Athens in 2006, but has been sidelined by injury in recent seasons. Last year he was forced to withdraw from the national team that took part at the Berlin World Championships.
“It is nice to see that Paul is still in the minds of the national selectors. I believe he has a lot of running left in him,” said Botha.
She said they viewed this as his comeback season to top athletics with an eye on 2012. “Although his focus will be on the 400m, he will also participate in 200m races to work on his speed.”
Eastern Province Athletics (EPA) president Godfrey Goliath confirmed on Monday that South Africa’s 800m world champion, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, and national steeplechase champion and record-holder, Ruben Ramolefe, were among the top names that have already been confirmed for the PE event.
Tickets for the Yellow Pages Series meeting will be available at the gate before the start. The cost is R10 for adults, and scholars and students enter for free.
For more information, contact Le-Anne de Kock on 041 374 2818.
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