Sinesipho Dambile delivered a stunning upset, storming to an impressive victory on the third and final day of the ASA Senior Track and Field National Championships at Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.
Dambile won 200m gold in 20.55 seconds, with the 20-year-old athlete holding off a challenge from national record holder and pre-race favourite Clarence Munyai in the men’s half-lap final, which was held in cold conditions.
Junior athlete Benjamin Richardson secured the bronze medal in 20.83, again flaunting his immense talent.
“I have won my first 200m senior title. I came here to win the championship,” said Dambile after the race. “I was not nervous because I know these guys and they inspire me, but I came here to deliver and win the gold medal.
“I was not tired and did not over-race myself coming into the big one. It was my first year as a senior and I exceeded my expectations.”
“It feels great to be the South African champion and I am happy to win the gold medal in windy conditions. I had to be smart and run a good race against good athletes. I saved my strength for the final. This is my third title in a row and I want to dominate this race for a long time to come. I want to thank my coach Samuel Sepeng for the long preparations that we’ve been doing.”Tshepo Tshite: men 800m winner (1:49:18)
On an emotional day for 400m hurdles specialist Wenda Nel, who made her last appearance at the ASA Senior Championships in her swansong season, she settled for second place.
Zeney van der Walt took the top step on the podium, crossing the line in 55.75, with Nel taking the runner-up position in 56.08 as she was denied a 10th SA title.
Taylon Bieldt, who faltered at the final hurdle in a tough battle, settled for bronze in 56.78.
In the women’s 10000m race, Caster Semenya made an appearance, though the middle-distance star dropped out at 6000m, as planned, after setting the pace for Glenrose Xaba.
Xaba, who is coached by Semenya, went on to win the 25-lap contest in a personal best of 32:31.49, well ahead of silver medallist Cian Oldknow (32:31.49).
“I am happy that I won the national title for the first time because I ran my new personal best. I want to thank my coach Caster Semenya for supporting me. Caster paced me and dropped out after six laps because we discussed it in training. We agreed that she must pace me because she is the coach and my training partner. To keep the energy we had to come up with this plan. The weather was bad and the wind made things difficult for me.”Glenrose Xaba: women 10 000m winner (32.31:49)
The men’s long jump final also produced some excitement, with two men clearing the eight-metre mark.
Jovan van Vuuren took the win with a leap of 8.04m, with Cheswill Johnson landing just two centimetres short of the gold medal, producing a best effort of 8.02m to grab silver.
Distance runner Precious Mashele was also made to work for his victory in the men’s 5000m final after opening a small gap on training partner Maxime Chaumeton, who pushed hard in the latter stages of the race in an attempt to try and close the gap.
Mashele hung on to win in 13:39.92 with Chaumeton second in 13:42.56 while local favourite Anthony Timoteus did well to take third position in 13:46.74.
“The tears are coming out and I am emotional. It is a bitter feeling as I felt confident about winning my 10th title. I fought to the line and did not give up. Well done to Zeney van der Walt for winning the race. I ended my last championship with a fight. I had lots of fun and wanted to win because I worked hard.”Wenda Nel: women’s 400m hurdles second-place (59:55)
Among the women, Banele Shabangu won the SA 200m title in 23.92, Prudence Sekgodiso added 800m gold (2:03.31) to the 1500m title she won the day before, and Deline Mpiti took the 400m final (52.82).
Jo-Ane van Dyk was victorious in the javelin throw (58.30m), Ischke Senekal won the shot put (16.23m) and Marissa Swanepoel set a personal best (1:44:28) to win the 20km walk title.
Among the men, Zakithi Nene won 400m gold (45.51), Sokwakhana Zazini secured victory in the 400m hurdles (49.84) and Alan Cumming won the hammer throw (70.74m).
Wayne Snyman earned his sixth national title in the 20km walk (1:28:46) and Valco van Wyk cleared 5.00m to take the pole vault crown.
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