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Athletics | SA Track & Field

Akani Simbine © Reg

100 metre final at SA’s is a race not to be missed

The men’s 100 metre final at the South African Athletics Championship taking place in Potchefstroom will be the one race not be missed this season as “history” will be made.

The South African record holder, Akani Simbine (TuksAthletics) predicts the records will be tumbling and it will be first race in South Africa where more than two athletes will dip under ten seconds.

The records that could possibly be rewritten in Potchefstroom are his own national record of 9.89s, the South African junior record of 10.12s and the world junior record of 9.97s.

Simbine’s confidence in his own and South Africa’s other top sprinters is certainly not unfounded especially considering what happened yesterday during the 100 metre final at the Gauteng North Championships at the TuksAthletics Stadium.

The race went down to the wire with the more experienced Simbine winning in a time of 9.92 seconds. It was the 10th time he clocked a sub ten seconds time. Thando Roto (TuksAthletics) who led for the first 70 metres was second in 9.95s. In doing so he became only the fifth South African sprinter to break through the magical 10 seconds barrier. He is also South Africa’s second fastest sprinter of all time.

The real reason why the race will be remembered for a long time is because it was the first time in South African athletics history that two athletes ran sub 10 second times in the same race.

As things stand at the moment Simbine (9.89s), Roto (9.95s) and Henricho Bruintjies (9.97s) all boasting times faster than 10 seconds could line up in the final. There mightbe a fourth sub ten second athlete in the final. That is not counting Wayde van Niekerk (9.98s) which could surprise a few people if he decides to also contest the short sprint at the national championships.

Gift Leotlela (TuksAthletics) set a new South African junior record running a time of 10.12s which is 0.07 seconds faster than the record set by Simbine. His friend and training partner, Clarence Munyai (TuksAthletics), confidently predicts that Leotlela is capable of running a 9.97s race. He is not the only one to think that sub ten seconds race is a mere formality for Leotlela.

If the Tuks-athlete achieves this before his birthday on 12 May he will be the only third 18 year old to dip under ten seconds. In 2001 Mark Lewis Francis (Brittain) ran 9.97s when he was 18 years 334 days old and in 2014 Trayon Bromell (USA) ran 9.97s when he was 18 years 338 days old.

What isexciting at the moment is the fact that South Africa can field a team in the 4x100m-relay that could win a medal at the World Championships in London. It could end up to be an all Tuks-team with four athletes boasting times faster than 10 seconds.

Werner Prinsloo who has been appointed to Coach the men’s relay team said the only challenge left for him is to get the athletes used to running a relay together.


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