While a number of finals were contested on the opening day of the SA Athletics Championships, sprinters stole the show in the preliminary rounds of the 100m dash in Pretoria on Thursday.
We take a look back at some of the highlights from day one.
With the weather playing its part, after a quick chat with her coach, Carina Horn decided to give the national record a crack in the semifinals, and she did not disappoint. Crossing the line in 11.03, she clipped 0.03 off the previous mark she shared with Evette de Klerk, which had stood for 28 years. Speaking afterwards, Horn said she would target the sub-11 barrier in Friday’s final
Also letting off some fireworks ahead of Friday night’s finals, the men were equally impressive in the semifinals of the short dash. While Akani Simbine withdrew after clocking 10.11 in the heats, apparently picking up a hamstring niggle, a handful of athletes kept the track alight. Roscoe Engel (10.06), Simon Magakwe (10.09) and Henricho Bruintjies (10.10) won the three races, while Thando Dlodlo set a national junior record of 10.11 behind Engel
Men’s 10 000m
Stephen Mokoka was rewarded for a smart tactical approach, after sitting back in the group until the final lap. With former training partner Gladwin Mzazi keeping the pace honest in the high-altitude race, Mokoka launched a lightning kick after the bell, charging to victory in 29:34.56. Mzazi held on to take second place in 29:40.64
Women’s 5 000m
Though she had no real competition, Dom Scott-Efurd gave the spectators a taste of her ability. After tucking in behind Western Province teammate Kyla van Graan for most of the race, she opened the taps and left her opponent for dead as she stormed past with 600m to go. Scott-Efurd went on to win by more than 100m, crossing the line in 16:55.05
Men’s 400m hurdles
Another contest that got tongues wagging ahead of the final, to be held on Friday. Having flown under the radar in the build-up, Lindsay Hanekom proved he had overcome his long-term injury concerns, clocking 49.39 for the second fastest time of his career. He became the sixth South African athlete to dip under 50 seconds this year in the one-lap event over the barriers.