African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya did not disappoint, living up to the pre-competition hype by storming to victory in 10.11 seconds in the men’s 100m race at the third leg of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix series, also a Continental Tour Challenger event, held at NWU McArthur Athletics Stadium in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
Clarence Munyai, better known for his performances over 200m, showed another turn of speed to grab second place in 10.20, with Emile Erasmus finishing third in 10.29.
“I am happy with my time and want to make it a tradition to come to South Africa every year. The organisation was fantastic and the track was beautiful,” said Omanyala after the race.
“I wanted to run against my old rival Akani Simbine and I will run against him in Germiston next week. I do not look at competitors, but I believe that Clarence Munyai, who finished in the second position, can do better.
“I want to make Kenya proud by winning gold at the World Championships in the USA to show that I am an African 100m record holder,” he added.
“It was an okay race and I did not execute it well, but I am happy with the outcome. Running against the big guys was a great challenge for me to test myself. I ran 10.05 and 10.06 in my first two races. I have qualified for the 100m for the World Championships in the USA. I enjoy working with Coach Werner Prinsloo and I am learning a lot from my training partner Akani Simbine.”Clarence Munyai: Men’s 100m runner-up (10.20)
There were further solid results produced on the track and in the field events, with local stars having to work harder against a strong international contingent.
Former national champion Luxolo Adams was in fine form in the men’s 200m race, rocketing to victory in 20.28. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana took second place in 20.45, with SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine settling for a surprise seventh position in 21.08.
In the women’s 100m race, national record holder Carina Horn edged out Phindile Kubheka by just 0.02 to take the win in 11.50. Shirley Nekhubui won the women’s 200m race, setting a personal best of 23.19.
Delivering a superb performance in the early stages of the season, 20-year-old Prudence Sekgodiso scorched around the track to earn a convincing victory in the women’s 800m race.
Sekgodiso clocked 2:01.89, crossing the line less than half-a-second outside her personal best of 2:01.40 to win by more than three seconds, with Oratile Nowe of Botswana taking second position in 2:05.34.
Tshepiso Masalela of Botswana won a tightly contested men’s 800m race in 1:46.40, holding off Jabulane Ncamane (1:46.42) by just 0.02, with the top five athletes all dipping under 1:47.00 in a blanket finish.
“I went through a hard time in my life and will not take any of these moments for granted. I do not want this opportunity to be taken away from me ever again. It was an emotional time for me during the warm-up and I could not hold back the tears. In the first year of my two-year ban, I could not go to the gym and cried most of the time. Winning was a cherry on top for me. But I am still rusty. I can improve on my start and do better.”Carina Horn: Women’s 100m winner (11.50)
National champion Dalene Mpiti was impressive in the women’s 400m sprint, charging around the track to win in 51.73, ripping more than a second off her personal best. Miranda Coetzee was second across the line in 52.59 and Christine Botlogetswe of Botswana was third in 52.88.
In the men’s 400m race, Olympic 4x400m relay bronze medallist Bayapo Ndori of Botswana won in 44.88, with compatriot Leungo Scotch finishing second in 45.85, while local favourite Zakithi Nene settled for third spot in 45.98.
Over the rarely run 2000m distance, three-time 800m world champion Caster Semenya produced a respectable result, taking a comfortable victory in 5:50.39. She wasn’t given any support in a solo effort, however, finishing 45 seconds clear of her nearest competitor, Welna Nkuna, who finished second in 6:35.49.
Delivering a stunning upset, Taylon Bieldt won the women’s 400m hurdles race in 55.80 in a thrilling contest. Pre-race favourite Zeney van der Walt finished second in 55.81 and experienced athlete Wenda Nel was third in 55.84.
Former world junior champion Sokwakhana Zazini had no much trouble in the men’s 400m hurdles, coasting to a convincing victory in 49.84.
“Things went according to plan, and I am happy with the time even though I wanted to run a faster time. There was no competition here and I knew I would win the race. There was no pressure and I took it easy. I like the 800m more and do the 1500m for training. I am going for the 800m national title in Cape Town. I am currently the best in the country and need competition from abroad.”Prudence Sekgodiso: Women’s 800m winner (02:01:89
In the women’s javelin throw, 18 year-old McKayla van der Westhuizen set a personal best of 58.26m to win a hard-fought battle.
Former World U20 Championships silver medallist Jo-Ane van Dyk landed the spear at 58.07m for second place, with Czech athlete Nikol Tabackova taking third position (57.07m).
Two men cleared 20 metres in the shot put, with Olympic finalist Kyle Blignaut launching a winning effort of 20.13m, just 10 centimetres further than Jason van Rooyen (20.03m).
Among the highlights in other disciplines, Jovan van Vuuren took the men’s long jump with a leap of 8.12m and Toni Keranen of Finland won the javelin throw with a 79.38m heave.
Earlier, in the pre-programme, African record holder Antonio Alkana won the men’s 110m hurdles race in 13.58 while Marione Fourie clocked 13.22 to secure victory in the women’s 100m hurdles.
Long jump specialist Cheswill Johnson won the men’s 100m B race in 10.41 and 18-year-old Brian Raats showed good form to clear 2.26m, winning the men’s high jump by 21 centimetres.