Sprint sensation Clarence Munyai will join esteemed compatriot Wayde van Niekerk on the sidelines for the rest of the 2018 season, his management team confirmed on Thursday.
Munyai, who delivered a stunning performance when he clocked 19.69 seconds to break Van Niekerk’s national 200m record in Pretoria in March, said he had struggled to shake off a hamstring injury which hampered him in the half-lap final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, where he finished fourth.
“With feeling pain in my hamstring, my team and I feel it is best to undergo further investigations to find the cause rather than risk further injury by competing,” said the 20-year-old speedster.
One of the country’s brightest prospects on the track, Munyai set a world junior 300m best of 31.61 and clocked a national junior 200m mark of 20.10 last year.
He made his Olympic debut at the age of 18 at the 2016 Rio Games, and though he represented South Africa at the IAAF World Championships in London last year, he was disqualified from the heats after stepping out of his lane.
While he also holds a nippy 100m personal best of 10.10, which was set earlier this season, Munyai has developed into a 200m specialist in the early stages of his elite career, and his 19.69 effort in the semifinals at the SA Championships placed him 10th in the all-time world rankings over the half-lap distance.
“I am fully committed to the process I now need to go through to get fully fit again,” Munyai said.
“I know what will help me through it all is the thought of being back on the track and running fast again next year.”
Despite missing Munyai and Van Niekerk, who was recovering from knee surgery, a strong 79-member SA team was announced on Thursday for the African Athletics Championships in Asaba in August.