Former national record holder Henricho Bruintjies will go in search of a place at the World Championships when he lines up at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday night, with time running out to book the last available spot in the men’s 100m dash.
While three South African men – Akani Simbine (9.92), Wayde van Niekerk (9.94) and Thando Roto (9.95) – have achieved Athletics SA’s A-standard qualifying mark of 10.03 for the short dash at the global spectacle in London in August, Van Niekerk will give the event a miss to focus on the 200m and 400m double.
Bruintjies set a season’s best of 10.06 in Turku a few weeks ago, and though he was inside the B-standard of 10.12, the lower mark does not guarantee athletes a place in the national team.
While Emile Erasmus (10.08) and junior prodigy Gift Leotlela (10.12) have also dipped under the B-standard criteria, Bruintjies leads the race for the third and final position in the squad ahead of the July 23 qualifying deadline.
He is one of five men in the Paris line-up who have dipped under 10 seconds in their careers, Jamaican athlete Julian Forte (9.99) is the only man in the field to have done so this year.
The race features a number of elite stars, however, including European champion Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, Olympic finalist Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast and veteran athlete Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
National 110m hurdles record holder Antonio Alkana, who has already achieved the required standard for the World Championships with his 13.11 national record set in Prague in the first week of June, is the only other SA athlete competing in the French capital, according to the entry lists released this week.
Facing a strong field in the heats, Alkana will target a place in the final of his specialist discipline, where he is expected to go into the blocks against a quality line-up spearheaded by Olympic champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica.