2 minute read
15 Jul 2014
3:03 pm

Bruintjies ready to fulfil bigger role in relay

After the withdrawal of Anaso Jobodwana from South Africa's Commonwealth Games team, sprinter Henrico Bruintjies says he is ready to step into a more senior role in the men's 4x100m relay team.

FILE PICTURE: The sun rises over runners competing in the 89th Comrades Marathon, 01 June 2014, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The annual ultra-marathon attracted over 18,000 runners from around the world to partake in the 89km race. Picture: Alaister Russell

“For me, any chance I get to represent my country is an honour because I love running for my people back home,” Bruintjies said Tuesday.

“I have been hard at work in training everyday to ensure that I am at my best once the competition starts.”

Turning 21 on Wednesday, Bruintjies was currently training and competing at Loughborough University in England, in preparation for the world showpiece event.

Twenty-year-old Ncincilili Titi was called up to replace the talented Jobodwana. He was being rewarded for an outstanding season, topped off by a gold medal in the 200m at the SA Senior Athletics Championships in Pretoria in April, crossing the line in 20.41 seconds.

Simon Magakwe and Akani Simbine completed the 4x100m quartet for the Games which start in Glasgow, Scotland, next week.

Magakwe was the 100m national record holder at 9.98 seconds while Simbine had a personal best of 10.02 seconds, making them the fastest duo in the country.

“I think we have one of the strongest teams going into the Commonwealths,” Bruintjies said.

“We are all familiar with each other and we know each other strengths from running against each other. Now we’ll be running as a team which, I believe, has the potential to medal.”

Bruintjies held a personal best 10.17 seconds in the 100m, which he clocked earlier this year in the semi-finals at the SA Championships.

The University of Pretoria athlete had suggested there was a lot more to come when he ran an unofficial 10.06 seconds in 2013, in a race ruled to have been wind assisted.

“I am not yet at the level I feel I want to be. I am constantly improving and perfecting my sprint so people should watch this space,” he said.

The South Africans can expect a tussle for glory when they come up against the sprint juggernauts from Jamaica, powered by 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt.

For Bruintjies, competing against his favourite athlete would be a dream come true.

“He (Bolt) is the best athlete that the world has ever seen and it would be an honour to go up against him and the rest of the Jamaicans.”

The South African athletics team will fly to Italy for a training camp on Friday before the commencement of the Games taking place between July 23 and August 3.

Renowned Tuks athletics coach Hennie Kotze would be in charge of the team.