SprintersWayde van Niekerk, Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies and Carina Horn who have produced some of the fastest times ever run by South African sprinters, will be the headlining acts at this weekend’s ASA Senior National Championships in Stellenbosch. The 100m, 200m and 400m races are expected to produce the fastest times ever run at a South African Senior National Championships.

Sprinting in South Africa was taken to another level when Anaso Jobodwana made the men’s 200m final at the London Olympic Games; once that bar was set, the world class sprinting performances rolled in like hard earned money. Followed by Jobodwana’s feat, Simon Magakwe became the first South African to run the 100m dash in under 10sec! Two years later, both Henricho Bruintjies and Akani Simbine surprised the nation with their new shared South African 100m record of 9.97sec, whilst Wayde slowly gained momentum in the 400m event. Last year, however, Van Niekerk’s moved to the 400m proved very successful when he ran the fourth fastest 400m time ever; his time of 43.48sec is an indication that he is capable of breaking the world 400m record in the foreseeable future. In the same year, Jobodwana set a new South African 200m record of 1987sec, earning himself a bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships behind Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin. Carina Horn also showed amazing form when she equalled the long-standing South African women’s 100m record of 11.06sec…a feat she hopes to repeat this season. At the beginning of 2016 the year was kicked off on a very high note when Akani set a new South African record of 9.96sec in his season’s opening race, and a few weeks after this milestone, Van Niekerk became the first athlete in the history of world track & field to run a sub 10sec 100m, sub 20sec 200m and sub 44sec 400m! If that does not psyche you up already, let’s have a look at more athletes to look out for.

Alyssa Conley is back in both the women’s 100m and 200m races, thus posing a threat to Carina Horn who showcased great shape last year. Conley has been running consistent Olympic qualifiers in the both her specialist events, whilst Horn has only competed in one race in which she ran a very fast 11.22sec 100m. Hot on their heels will be former and current junior national champions Tebogo Mamathu and Tamzin Thomas. Mamathu boasts with one of the fastest starts whereas Thomas comes through in the last 40m of the race, leaving both of these athletes as the underdogs this weekend! Whilst these women have a point to prove, it seems Thando Roto, Gift Leotlela, Emile Erasmus, Samkelo Sabela, Clarence Munyai, Ncincilili Titi and Roscoe Engel have to do the same. All these athletes, except Engel have clocked 10.2sec 100m’s or faster, however, the focus has still just been on two men: Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies. Will we be in for a surprise on Friday? We will have to wait and see.

Antonio Alkana has proven that he is on his own level when he easily cruised to a 13.43sec Olympic qualifying 110mh run at meet in Cape Town on Saturday. He is the favourite to win the men’s tall hurdles race, and the South African record for this event might just be broken this weekend…so watch out. Also trying his luck and possibly winning the silver medal will be Tshepo Lefete who recently made a move to Johannesburg. The women’s one-lap hurdle race, on the other hand, will be headlined by the 2015 World Championships finalist Wenda Nel, Gezelle Magerman and Jean-Marie Senekal and the men’s race will include legends of the sport: LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks. These experienced athletes will have it hard as they take on the hungry youngsters: Lindsay Hanekom, Le Roux Hamman, Constant Pretorious and Bernard Pretorius.

The men’s and women’s 400m will provide quite a spectacle when Caster Semenya takes on Justine Palframan, Rorisang Ramonye,  and Thapelo Phora, Pieter Conradie, Jon Seeliger, Shaun de Jager, Berend Koekemoer and Quinton Norris fight it out for silver and bronze medal position respectively.

The following winning times could be expected this weekend:

100m Men: 10.05sec

100m Women: 11.25sec

100mh Women: 13.5sec

110mh Men: 13.35sec

200m Men: 20.30sec

200m Women: 23.20sec

400m Men: 44.60sec

400m Women: 51.20sec

400mh Men: 49.05sec

400mh Women: 55.70sec.

 

Written by Reggie Hufkie