2018 Looking Back – Seniors
As the curtains comes down on 2018, we look at some of our senior athletes that made headlines. Luvo Manyonga at the SA Championships at the BestMed Tuks Athletics Stadium. Photo by Backtrack Sports
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Two-time 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya kicked off her international season in fine style to clinch the gold medal in the 800m and 1500m events at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, in April. Semenya then went on to win four other titles that included the African (400m and 800m),
International of Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League(800m) and the IAAF Continental Cup(800m) which was her 29th consecutive win in the two-lap event. Semenya also ran a new South African record of 49.62 seconds in the women’s 400m sprints to finish second behind Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser at the IAAF Continental Cup. Semenya now holds the women’s 400m, 800m, 1000m and 1500m SA records.
Four-time national 100m hurdles record holder Rikenette Steenkamp shattered Corien Botha 21-year-old SA record of 12.94 seconds after clocking 12.91 seconds at the Praha Josef Odlozil Memorial meet, in Prague, Czech Republic, in June. A few weeks later, she broke her own record clocking 12.81 seconds at the La Chaux-de-Fonds meet, in Switzerland. The 26-year-old took the gold medal at the inaugural IAAF Athletics World Cup to beat favourites Jeanine Williams and Queen Harrison from Jamaica and the USA who finished in second and third respectively. While she ended off her season with a silver medal at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) African Senior Championships in Lagos, Nigeria, in August.
The current SA 100m sprint champion Carina Horne broke her own national record clocking 10.98 seconds at the IAAF Diamond League Meet, in Doha, Qatar, in May. Horne who is the only SA female sprinter to dip under 11 seconds also took the bronze medal in the 100m sprints clocking 11.21 seconds at the IAAF Athletics World Cup, in London, England, in July.
The five-time African javelin champion Sunette Viljoen took the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, earlier this year. This was the fourth consecutive time that Viljoen has taken a medal at the Commonwealth Games. In July, Viljoen was in third position for the most part of the women’s javelin event at the inaugural IAAF Athletics World Cup, in London, in England. However, her final throw of 61.69m was good enough to see her walk away with the gold medal.
The SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine had a stellar season. This comes after he won the gold medal performance at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, in April. He outsmarted the likes of former World 100m Champion Yohan Blake and the home town favourite Josh Clark. Simbine was also part of the SA 4x100m relay team at the Commonwealth Games, that included: Henricho Bruintjies, Emile Erasmus and Anaso Jobodwana who finished in second place in a new SA record time of 38.24 seconds. Simbine followed that up with a gold medal in the 100m sprints at the CAA African Senior Championships but had to settle for the bronze medal in the 100m sprints at the IAAF
Continental Cup clocking 10.11 seconds behind China’s Bingtian Su and winner Noah Lyles from the US
The first SA male athlete to run sub 10 seconds in the 100m sprints Simon Magakwe has had one of his best track and field seasons. Magakwe from Western Province Athletics finished in third place in the 100m sprints clocking 10.11 seconds at the IAAF Athletics World Cup in London, England, in July. A month later, the current SA 100m champion followed that up with another bronze at the CAA African Senior Championships, in Nigeria.
20-year-old Clarence Munyai smashed the national 200m record of 19.84 seconds, that was set by the 400m World Record holder Wayde van Niekerk last year by clocking 19.69 seconds in the semi-final of the half-lap event at the ASA Senior Championships, in Pretoria, in March. A month later, he went on to finish in fourth place in the 200m sprint event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. However, injuries throughout the season kept Munyai out for most of 2018.
Eastern Cape-born Luxolo Adams made his marker on the national and international track and field circuit this year. It all started back in March when he won the 200m sprints clocking 20.08 seconds at the ASA Senior Championships in Pretoria. If winning the national title was not enough, five days later Adams ran a personal best of 20.01 seconds to win the gold medal, at the ASA Athletix Grand Prix Series meet in Paarl. Adams then went on to represent SA for the first time when he took the silver medal in the 200m sprints at the inaugural IAAF Athletics World Cup in London, England, in July. A month later, Adams finished in third place in the 200m sprints at the CAA African Senior Championships.
Western Province Athletics Antonio Alkana could have not asked for a better season. It started back in April when he took fifth place in the men’s 110m hurdles event at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia. He then went on to finish in fourth place in the men’s 110m hurdles clocking 13.38 seconds, at the IAAF Athletics World Cup, in London, England, in July. Alkana then went on to defend his 100m hurdles title at the CAA African Senior Championships before ended his season off with a fourth-place finish at the IAAF Continental Cup, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in September.
The current World champion Luvo Manyonga had season to remember, having won the Commonwealth Games, IAAF Diamond League title and the IAAF Athletics World Cup long jump titles. His only significant defeat came at the CAA African Senior Championships where he finished runner up to countryman Ruswahl Samaai.
The two-time SA long jump champion Ruswahl Samaai began his consistent season with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He then went on to defend his title at the CAA African Senior Championships where he got the better of the World and Commonwealth Games champion Luvo
Manyonga and went on to end his season with a gold medal performance at the IAAF Continental Cup, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in September.
Written by Keagan Mitchell