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4 minute read
12 Apr 2014
8:15 pm

Magakwe 100m record highlight of championships

Many have tried and failed - until Simon Magakwe became the first South African to break the sub-10-second barrier in the 100 metres at the South African Athletics Championships, in Pretoria, on Saturday.

File photo. Picture: AFP.

The home-grown speedster claimed his sixth 100m title in style as he brought the crowd at the Tuks stadium to their feet when he stopped the track clock at 9.99 seconds.

When the official time of 9.98 seconds was announced, Magakwe was almost halfway around his victory lap while the appreciative crowd applauded the champion.

“From the start I was aggressive, I just wanted it so badly … the last 30 metres I pushed so hard,” Magakwe said.

“What is exciting is my coach (Eugene Thipe) is from South Africa, and not from Jamaica. Everything we do, we do in South Africa.”

Not only did he break the magical barrier but he also smashed the South African record of 10.06 seconds that he shared with Johan Rossouw.

That record had been part of South African sprinting since 1988 and has been the bane of many a athlete who tried and failed to break it.

It was also a special day for second-placed Akani Simbine, who also broke the old national record in the process, in a time of 10.02 seconds. Emile Erasmus finished third in 10.23 seconds.

The standard of the athletics on the second day of the championships was superb, with South African athletes dishing up world-class performances.

In the men’s 400m, Wayde van Niekerk became only the sixth South African to run a sub-45- seconds time to claim the national title.

The one-lap ace clocked a time of 44.92 seconds to outsprint Shaun de Jager (45.82sec) and Willie de Beer (46.38sec).

Van Niekerk made it clear that he was after the joint South African record of 44.59 seconds held by Arnaud Malherbe and Hendrik Mokganyetsi.

“This year I would love to break the South African record, so on Monday I will try again at the Varsity Cup meeting (at the University of Johannesburg) and get back to training again,” Van Niekerk said.

“I try to stick with the world guys — whoever is on top, that is where I want to be, because I have to shift my mind to competing on the world stage.”

Rikenette Steenkamp produced the best performance in the 100m hurdles in more than 23 years when she defended her title, winning in a time of 13.17 seconds.

The time was also the sixth best by a South African woman and her coach, former 110m hurdles record-holder Shaun Bownes, believes Steenkamp has the potential to break Corien Botha’s record of 12.93 seconds.

Earlier in the day, South African javelin queen Sunette Viljoen claimed her ninth national title in her specialist event with a distance of 64.77m. Six of her attempts on the day were over 60 metres.

Megan Wilke took second place with her throw of 48.23m, with Sane van Zyl third.

“I take great pride in my ninth title. I’ve worked extremely hard to achieve that,” Viljoen said.

“I’m very happy with my overall performance today. I had six throws over 60 metres, which makes me very excited for the rest of the season.

“It’s now a good platform I can build on for the international season.”

There were some upsets on the day with the biggest being world 1500m bronze medallist Johan Cronje’s defeat by Jerry Motsau in his specialist event.

Motsau finished strongly to win in a time of three minutes, 47.91 seconds (3:47.91) with Cronje second in 3:48.47 and Mthobisi Baloyi third in 3:50.93.

There was also disappointment for South African 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl who lost to defending champion and training partner Cornel Fredericks.

There was some controversy in that the eighth line of hurdles was slightly higher than the rest, which had an impact on the athletes’ rhythm.

Fredericks went past Van Zyl over the final stretch to reclaim the title in a time of 49.21 seconds.

Van Zyl took the silver medal in a time of 50 seconds, with Le Roux Hamman third in 50.29sec.

In the 200m relatively unknown Ncincilili Titi won the race comfortably in a time of 20.41 seconds, with Simbine crossing the line in second place in 20.47sec and Tshegofatso Meshoe third in 20.73sec.

Olympic silver medallist Caster Semenya made a low-key return to the championships to win the 800m in a time of 2:03.30, while the South African record-holder in both horizontal jumps, Khotso Mokoena, won the triple jump with a distance of 16.68m.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Wenda Nel became only the third South African women to break the 55-second barrier, winning her event in 54.92 seconds.

– Sapa