The 8 fallen records

                                                                                                               Photo of Derrick Mokaleng on gofrogs.com

 

The rise of South African athletics continued when 8 indoor records- 6 national and 1 continental- was shattered in the first months and a half of the year. Ncincilili Titi, Dominique Scott-Efurd, Luvo Manyonga, Carina Horn and Derrick Mokaleng were the athletes responsible for the fallen records.

Eastern Cape born Ncincilili Titi started the year in record-breaking fashion when he broke the South African 200m indoor record at the Clemson Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina on 20 January. The 200m specialist stopped the clock 20.45, climbing up to nineteenth on the NCAA rankings.  Another American-based Olympian, Dominique Scott-Efurd, proved again that she is one of the best middle distance athletes in the world when she dipped across the line for the bronze medal, and new South African record, in the 3000m at the 111th NYRR Millrose Games on 3 February. Her time of 8:41.18 was 13 seconds faster than her previous national mark, an indication that she is in the best shape of her blooming career. Fast forward to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, a week later, and she clocks 4:07.25 in the 1500m, a time that makes her the fastest South African over this distance to date. Scott is on her way to become one of the all-time greats in South African athletics, so maybe recognition and appreciation is what will inspire her even more.

Making a big statement leading up to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March, meanwhile, was the world long jump champion, Luvo Manyonga. The charismatic star opened up his indoor campaign by leaping to 8.23m, and later 8.32m, national records at the Meeting Paris Indoor on 7 February. But the Port Elizabeth based athlete had more up the sleeve 7 days later. At a meeting in Metz, France, he recorded a distance of 8.40m for not only victory, but also a new African record and world lead. Manyonga’s success story is one of hope, dedication and commitment, and athletes like Derrick Mokaleng, a student at Texas Christian University, drew inspiration from his journey. Mokaleng, a former Johannesburg based athlete, is as dedicated, professional and passionate as Manyonga, and people might not know it, but he has been on the rise for at least three years now. After completing one year of his Law studies at the University of Johannesburg, Mokaleng decided that a move to the USA would be the best for his career, and it paid dividends earlier than expected. At the Tech Shootout in Lubbock on Friday, Mokaleng became the fastest South African ever with his time of 45.76 in the 400m. The 20-year-old has, without-a-doubt, a bright future ahead of him. Who knows, he might even be the athlete to take over from the golden boy, Wayde van Niekerk.

She has been going about her business very quietly, but one thing is for sure, Carina Horn will go down in the history books as one of the most coveted, if not the most coveted, female sprinters in Africa. First she equaled Evette de Klerk’s 28-year-old 11.06 national 100m record, and then she went after the 60m indoor record, and she was so hungry she broke it twice in one weekend! She clocked 7.10 on 9 February in Paris, obliterating the previous record of 7.15 set by Wendy Hartman in 1999. This was her first downright national record, but it must have motivated her extremely much because she was back for more two days later. Also in Paris, Horn improved her national mark to 7.09, giving the world an indication of what is to come.

If 7 records fell in 9 days, how many records will fall with 10 months left on the 2018 calendar?

 

Written by Reggie Hufkie