Fredriech Pretorius may rightfully wonder what would have happened at the Combined Events Meeting in Mauritius if he had his own set of poles to use during the pole vault. Unfortunately Pretorius does not have any poles of his own and had to borrow poles. The biggest pole he was able to borrow was smaller than the pole with which he started a few years ago when he decided to become a decathlete.
Pretorius compared the pole he used to a ‘pool noodle’. He says: ‘I started jumping 3.70 metres but every time I planted the pole in the box I ended up falling as the pole could not get me airborne.’ Consequently he was not able to clear any height in the pole vault on Sunday.
To add to his frustrations he also suffered a foot-injury during the pole vault and had to withdraw from the 1500m event. At this stage it is not clear whether Pretorius will be able to compete at the South African National Championships in Stellenbosch this coming weekend. In spite of his setbacks, the High Performance Centre (HPC) sponsored athlete did not do too badly.
In four of the nine events in which he competed he scored more than 800 points. A definite highlight was being able to clear the bar at a height of 2.01m (813 points) in the high jump, which was a personal best for him. His time of 11.05 seconds (850 points) in the 100m is the second best of his career so far. His time of 14.61s in the 110-hurdles was worth 897 points and he earned 822 points with his time of 49.84s in the 400m.
A definite disappointment was his jump of only 6.89m (788 points) in the long jump. The long jump is where he usually makes up points. He was also not at his best in the throwing events and could only manage to throw 11.92m in the shot put, 40.97m in the discus and 54.12m in the javelin.
Irma Reyneke, his coach, is not too worried about what has happened. She says: ‘Naturally, being his coach, I share his frustrations and disappointments but I am confident that he will be able to put this setback behind him and come back an emotionally stronger athlete. Unfortunately losing is part of becoming a champion.
My main concern is the fact that Fredriech does not have his own set of poles for the pole vault. When he competes internationally, he always has to ask around if there are any poles he can use. This situation puts aditional pressure on Fredriech.
Every time he borrows some other athlete’s pole he runs the risk that it could break, which could affect the outcome for both Fredriech and the other athlete. Hopefully we will be able to solve the problem before the Word Student Games.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott