Port Elizabeth’s Leigh Julius (NMMU) will take his first step to reclaiming the mantle of the country’s top sprinter when he faces off against African 200m champion Thuso Mpuang at the first Yellow Pages Series athletics meeting in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The 24-year-old Julius, a former 100 and 200m national champion, will come up against Mpuang in both sprint events at the Xerox NMMU Stadium.
“We’re looking at rectifying the mistakes of last year,” his long-time coach Chris Doubell said on Tuesday.
Although he did not want to elaborate on the nature of these mistakes, he said they had led to sub-par performances at major meetings in recent times.
“Last year, for instance, Leigh was running excellent times, but was unable to convert them into wins.”
Doubell said they have had a good winter of preparation, without any injuries, and they were expecting a good season if the former 200m world student champion could convert the hard work into competition form.
Although all eyes will be on his showdown with Mpuang, who is one of the country’s top up-and-coming sprinters, Doubell warned that it was the first major meeting of the season and that there were bigger fish to fry later on.
“There is a long season ahead and at this stage we simply want to get it started.”
Doubell said the South African Championships in Durban at the end of March and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October were their two objectives for the season.
Another of Doubell’s charges, Cindy Stewart (NMMU), will line up again Thandiwe Vilakazi (UJ) in the women’s sprints.
“Both are looking for early season form and that should equate to close racing,” he predicted.
The meeting kicks off with a pre-programme at 4pm, followed by the main programme at 6pm.
Tickets cost R10 and will be available at the gate. Scholars and students can enter for free.
For more information, contact Le-Anne de Kock on 041 374 2818.
Full Stop Communications
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