The South African Senior Championships took place in Potchefstroom and despite the lack of coverage on live television, Potchefstroom was definitely filled up while a couple of SA Stars once again but their best food forward. Here Sports 24 Seven picks our 6 Standout performances from the completed Championships!
Akani Simbine slays the 100m
For the first time in South African history, the countries five sprinters to have run under 10 seconds in the 100m were all entered in to the same competition. Simon Magakwe, Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies, Wayde van Niekerk and most recently Thando Roto had all run sub 10s and all qualified for the final along with Anaso Jobodwana, the 2015 World Championship 200m bronze medalist. In the strongest field ever for a race in SA, Simbine showed that he is South Africa’s number 1 over the shortest distance posting sub 10 times in the Semi-Final and final. This man is a future Olympic medalist!
South Africa’s most truly world class athlete at present Wayde van Niekerk, who is going for the double at the IAAF World Championships in London in August, proved why he wants to run in the 200m and 400m events when he came close to breaking Anaso Jobodwana’s national record of 19.87s. Van Niekerk’s time was the fastest in South Africa as Jobodwana achieved his time at the world championships in Beijing, China in 2015. Van Niekerk slowed over the line in a very Bolt like move that would surely have the Jamaican paying a bit more attention (We know he was watching!)
South African darling Caster Semenya is seemingly untouchable and did it again defending the 400 and 800m titles (She did not defend her 1500m). Caster who may become a double Olympic champion pending the outcome of an appeal by disgraced 2012 champion Safionova, was rarely troubled and when under pressure in the 800m produced her trademark kick to comfortably romp home to the victory.
Luvo Manyonga breaks the African Record
Luvo Manyonga broke his own National and African record by 3 cm and moved himself to 11th in the All Time listing when he jumped 8.65. Incredibly the 8.49 jump by runner up Ruswahl Samaai would have won an Olympic gold medal at Rio (Jeff Henderson jumped 8.38 to beat Manyonga by 1 cm). There is definitely excitement around South Africa’s long jumping potential for the World Championships in London!
Kesa Molotsane wins the 5000m
Based on the form shown by Kesa Molotsane in the Spar Series she should have been strongly considered a favourite but she was racing in arguably one of the most talented races on display this weekend in a line-up that featured Irvette van Zyl, Mapaseka Makhanya and her KPMG team mate Noelene Conrad. Kesa delivered an outstanding kick to take the race from Irvette and show just how much of a talent she is over the 5km race.
Thabang Mosiako causes the shock of the championships
Thabang Mosiako entered a two horse race that didn’t involve him and promptly made sure that two horse race was for nothing more than second place. The 5000m was built up as the battle between Olympians Stephen Mokoka and Elroy Gelant. Gelant led from the onset, but showed tired legs towards the end when he was dramatically overtaken by the youngster, who stayed with Mokoka until the last 800m of the thrilling race.
If nothing else there was a much better interest than in previous years for the SA Champs and that in itself is progress and what happens when there is success involved. Maybe a good lesson for all.