Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
11 Jun 2015
10:56 am

SA sprinters on the rise

Wesley Botton

South African sprinting is experiencing the dawn of a new age, with a handful of young speedsters making waves at the highest level of the sport.

FILE PICTURE: Anaso Jobodwana and Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt. Picture: Getty Images.

With Anaso Jobodwana expected to target his own national record in the 200m dash at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo on Thursday night, we take a look at the athletes leading the SA charge on the international circuit.

Anaso Jobodwana – At the age of 22, he has already reached the 200m finals of the Olympic Games and World Championships. Bouncing back from hernia surgery last year, the lanky US-based athlete has twice broken the SA half-lap record this season, bringing it down to 20.04 seconds. The World Student Games 100m and 200m champion, Jobodwana opened his 2015 campaign in the short sprint with a 10.13 performance in Prague last week.

Watch Jobodwana, at the age of 20, competing against Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in the men’s 200m final at the 2012 London Olympics.

Akani Simbine – Having shaken off some injury troubles, the stocky 21-year-old speedster from Tuks has been in consistent form throughout the first half of the year, dipping under 10 seconds on three occasions. Holding a personal best of 10.02, he clocked a season’s best 10.08 in Rome last week. The SA junior record holder in the 100m, he is now targeting Simon Magakwe’s national record of 9.98. Simbine also set a 200m career record of 20.27 in Pretoria in March, running into a headwind, to again display his potential versatility.

Watch Simbine finish second behind Magakwe’s historic record at last year’s national championships in Pretoria –

Henricho Bruintjies – Another 21-year-old from Tuks, Bruintjies burst onto the international scene on Monday, clocking 10.06 in the 100m dash in Prague. He smashed his personal best of 10.17, clocking the fastest ever time by a South African at sea level, to showcase his real ability for the first time.

Wayde van Niekerk – The 22-year-old star from Bloemfontein smashed the national 400m record last season, charging to a 44.38 performance in New York, and clocked an impressive 20.19 over 200m in Lausanne. This year, Van Niekerk has run 44.91 in the one-lap sprint, and last week he secured his maiden Diamond League victory by setting a new SA best of 31.63 in the men’s 300m race in Birmingham.

Fringe athletes: With South Africa’s current depth indicating a potential medal challenge in the 4x100m relay at the World Championships in Beijing in August, a handful of athletes will be hoping to clinch hard-earned places in the squad.
Sabela Samkelo (10.22), Gideon Trotter (10.22), Danie van Blerk (10.23), Emile Erasmus (10.23) and teenager Thando Roto (10.27) have all shown potential in recent years by dipping under 10.30 in the 100m event, while Ncinci Titi has clocked 20.41 over 200m.
Most promisingly, all six of these athletes are under the age of 24, providing further promise of a bright future for SA sprinting.
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