Carina Horn showed she is a real international sprinting contender after she became the first South African woman 100m sprinter to break the 11-second barrier at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Friday night.
So far she has already improved twice on the 100m record. At the national championships at Tuks, she ran 11.03.
Earlier in France she twice set South African indoor records clocking times of 7.10, followed by 7.09.
What is exciting about Horn’s 10.98 performance is that she now becomes a world-class athlete. If she can become a consistent sub-11 seconds runner, she ought to qualify for all the major finals.
Her time would have placed her 5th in the final at last year’s World Championships in London.
Since 2015 the only other African female sprinters who have been running sub-11s races are Murielle Ahouré (Ivory Coast), Marie-Josée Ta Lou (Ivory Coast) and Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (Nigeria).
Horn’s breakthrough is no surprise. For the last few years, she has undoubtedly been one of the most dedicated athletes often spending up to eight hours at the Tuks track.
During an interview on Tuesday, it became clear that something significant was going to happen. Horn was not saying much, but her whole demeanour was that of someone who is confident in her abilities.
Horn’s dedication to becoming South Africa’s fastest woman can perhaps be best explained by the following quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger: “The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.”
Where others might have wondered, Horn always believed that sub-11 seconds is doable. Pointing out that all it will take is for her to run that one perfect race and now she did so in Doha.
When Simon Magakwe became the first South African male sprinter to dip under 10 seconds in 2014, it was the breakthrough which led to Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies, Wayde van Niekerk and Thando Roto starting to do so.
The question now is whether Horn’s 10.98 will have the same impact on South African women’s sprinting?
Tebogoa Mamathu (Tuks) who was a silver medallist in the 100m at the last two South African Championships believes Horn has proved to the local sprinters that anything is possible if you are prepared to put your mind to it.
“I was so inspired seeing Carina run 10.98. While she was racing, I said to myself this has to be ’10 seconds’. To be honest, I am really proud of her and so happy to have a South African female sprinter going under 11. At the moment it is unbelievable.
“I think Carina’s performance is going to be the stepping stone of great things to come. The rest of us female sprinters are now under pressure as we need to lift our game if we want to keep up with Carina,” said Mamathu who improved her best time this season to 11.27 in the 100 metres.
“What is interesting to me is the coincidence between Simon Magakwe and Carina’s breakthrough performances in the 100m. Simon ran 9.98 and Carina 10.98,” said the Tuks-athlete. – African News Agency (ANA)