Though she was still pinching herself over the weekend after achieving a hard-fought career breakthrough, sprinter Carina Horn was already contemplating what tweaks she could make in order to find another gear.
While compatriot Caster Semenya stole the headlines after setting a national record of 3:59.92 to win the women’s 1 500m race at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on Friday night, Horn made history of her own in the women’s 100m dash.
Despite settling for fifth place, the 29-year-old Tuks speedster was dragged through by a world-class field, crossing the line in 10.98 to become the first South African woman to break the 11sec barrier in her specialist event.
“When I saw 10.98 going up on the electronic scoreboard next to my name, all the long, hard hours,
the sacrifices and the disappointments were forgotten,” Horn said.
“All that mattered was that I had achieved what I set out to do many years ago. It was the breakthrough I have been dreaming of, and it is the one moment in my athletics career which I will never forget.”
Horn earned the 100m silver medal at the 2016 African Championships in Durban, after cementing her place as the country’s fastest woman in recent years.
She struggled to make the step-up at global level, however, after being eliminated in the semifinals at the last two editions of the World Championships, as well as at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
With her sub-11 performance expected to give her newfound confidence, Horn said she would work with Austrian coach Rainer Schopf to shave more time off her national record.
“As long as I am capable, I will always be on a quest to gain that extra hundredth of a second when racing,” she said.
“I am sure my coach has already started to plan as to what I need to do to be faster.”