#TuksAthletics: SA 800 metres champion, Edmund du Plessis, set sights on a podium finish in Germiston

Posted on May 19, 2023

The South African 800m champion, Edmund du Plessis, will surely try and prove that you can't keep a good man down when he lines up tomorrow to compete in the upcoming 2023 Germiston Grand Prix Meeting. 

The Tuks athlete, who only turned 21 two weeks ago, is having a good season. Of the eight 800-metre races he competed in, he won three and was second on three occasions. More importantly, he has got two titles to his name. Apart from being the SA champion, he has also won during the Gauteng North Championships.

Last week during the first Grand Prix Meeting at Tuks, things did not quite as Du Plessis had hoped. Over the last 400 metres, there was a nervous moment or two when one athlete seemingly lost his balance and nearly went down. It created a domino effect. This chaos caused the Tuks athlete to be boxed in. The net result was that he ended up finishing last.

Du Plessis is certainly not training three hours daily to make up numbers on the track. It is a given that he will be in the "mix" tomorrow. He is, however, not committing to any specific tactic. 
"Through experience, I have learned that each race has unique challenges. I usually have a look at the start list. It gives you a rough idea of how the race could play out. If there are many fast runners, I know I got to be in the front from the start. At other times you know it will be a tactical race."

According to his coach, Wiam Grimes, Du Plessis's best quality as an 800-metre runner is his kick over the last 200 metres. 

"In the off-season, I will work on getting Edmund to be faster over 400 metres. It needs to be faster if he wants to be genuinely competitive as an 800-metre runner. I am impressed by his stamina. If Edmund needs to, he can be competitive in quite a few races in a short space of time.

"This season, our focus is to try and get Edmund to qualify for the World Student Games. The long-term focus will be to qualify for a World Championships or the Olympic Games."

At the moment, Du Plessis, a third-year medical student, 's biggest challenge is finding enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done. 

"Some mornings, I get up early to train for about two hours. Then I am off to the university as my classes start at eight and only finish at four in the afternoon. Then I am off the track to train seriously to be a better 800-metre runner for another hour."

Marli Viljoen is another Tuks athlete who could win tomorrow. She impressed earlier this season when she ran 51.87s over 400 metres in Potchefstroom. It is a massive personal best. She was third during last week's Grand Prix meeting, running 52.25s. 

Just maybe the weather is going allow the Tuks Sports Science student, Marione Fourie, to come close to setting a new South African record in the 100m-hurdles. She has already dipped twice under 13 seconds this season. Last year she set a personal best time of 12.93s. Rikenette Steenkamp's SA record is 12.81s.
Other Tuks athletes who could impress in Germiston are SW Nel (110m-hurdles), Brian Raats (high jump) and Charne Swart (800 metres).

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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