While some of the fields were diluted by the withdrawals of elite contenders, and the women’s 100m race was virtually derailed by a technical problem, the top-flight domestic track and field season opened with some solid performances at the first leg of the ASA Grand Prix series in Bloemfontein on Saturday night.
In the absence of national 200m record holder Clarence Munyai (who had been expected to make his comeback from a lengthy injury hiatus) and sub-10 rocket Thando Roto – both of whom had been included in the start lists for the men’s 100m dash – national champion Simon Magakwe produced the standout performance of the meeting.
Magakwe charged over the line in 10.06 seconds in the short sprint, equalling his season’s best, and SA student champion Emile Erasmus took second place in 10.15.
“I was disappointed with my start,” Magakwe said, admitting he had been shaken up by an opponent’s earlier false start.
“I’m always slow at the start and I have to catch up, which is not good, but I think it was also the nerves after the false start
“So it wasn’t my best race but I’m happy with the time.”
Meanwhile, the women’s 100m race had to be run three times due to issues with the electronic timing system, which had become a perennial problem at Mangaung Athletics Stadium in recent years. With national record holder Carina Horn scratched from the entry lists, Tebogo Mamatu held it together despite the lengthy delays and took the win in 11.44, edging out Tamzin Thomas by 0.01.
“These things happen and sometimes you just need to be prepared for it,” Mamatu said.
“It got a bit chilly out there and I almost felt like I was cramping, so it wasn’t good, but I can’t complain. Sometimes these things happen.”
In other disciplines, Lindsay Hanekom burst back into form, stunning a strong field to take the men’s 400m hurdles race in 49.64, with experienced rival Cornel Fredericks holding on for the runner-up spot in 49.66.
In the long jump pit, Zarck Visser looked to be finding some of the consistency he had been missing, launching a leap of 8.13m for his second eight-metre clearance of the year. He was 16 centimetres ahead of runner-up Cheswill Johnson.
And Orazio Cremona sent the shot sailing out to 20.19m, holding off a challenge from world junior champion Kayle Blignaut who was second with a 19.73m heave.