ASA SENIOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS, DAY 2 WRAP-UP: MUNYAI BREAKS SA RECORD, SEMENYA DIPS UNDER 2 MINUTES
Clarence Munyai after smashing SA record in the 200m in 19.69 seconds
Twenty-year-old sprinting ace Clarence Munyai surprised himself and the entire athletics world when he crossed the line in 19.69 seconds, a new South African record, to win his 200m semi-final. She didn’t run a record, but Caster Semenya bagged another national title and provided spectators with one of the fastest 800m female races ever seen on South African soil.
Munyai has been flying high since last year. After breaking the South African junior 200m record, he went on to set a new world all-time best in the men’s u/20 300m race. He also gave us early signs of what’s to come when he ran 10.10 seconds last month…but did we know something so special would happen today? I bet not. Needless to say, he continued his climb to the top when he shattered Wayde van Niekerk’s 200m record by stopping the clock on 19.69 seconds! And that was a semi-final…
South Africa’s golden girl, Semenya, showcased again, today, why she is the golden girl of South African sport. She stormed to a lightning fast 1:58.92 victory in the heats of the women’s 800m, and a few hours later she secured the 1500m title, defending her title successfully in a great time of 4:10.68. If her 1500m time of today is anything to go by, than perhaps expecting a sub 4min05sec next week- at the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series in Paarl- does not sound too farfetched. But before that, she is tackling the 800m finals tomorrow. Can she go faster? Is it a little too much to ask for a 1:56.00? Whatever happens, we now know something special is on its way, and soon too.
In the hammer circle, the Harmse legacy lives on. Having won the national for more than 20 years, it’s amazing how the Free State Athletics stalwart can still produce a 70.62m throw at the right time and place. He earned his respect again this year when snatched the title from the young and upcoming star, Tshepang Makhethe, on a perfect day (for being in the circle) in Pretoria. Chris Moleya (high jump), Orazio Cremona (shot put), Khotso Mokoena (triple jump) and Patience Ntsingila (triple jump) are also athletes who have earned respect among their competitors because they either overcame injuries successfully or made effective comebacks. Today proved to be their day. Moleya was crowned high jump champion (2.23m), Ntsingila triple jump (13.78m) champion and Cremona went home with the gold medal around his neck after he won the men’s shot put title (20.71m). A wind-aided (+2.7) leap in the men’s triple jump helped Khotso Mokoena fly over the pit to a jump that would be measured as 17.09m, and another national title.
Nkosinathi Sibiya made a name for himself when he outwitted Folavio Sehohle and Jerry Motsua to win the men’s 1500m title. His time of 3:45.08 was enough. Also busy carving out a name for herself is Cherise Sims, the two time South African 3000m steeplechase champion. She finished the seven-and-a-half-lap-race in 10:41.14. Rantso Mokopane, in retrospect, has been dominating the steeplechase scene for almost five years now. After finishing a 1500m heat, he still managed to defend his title. His time was 8:51.23.