SA records tumble on a thrilling day
Clarence Munyai smashed a long-standing national junior record, fellow sprinter Akani Simbine made history on the track in Tshwane and distance runner Melikhaya Frans broke new ground on the road in Uitenhage on a trilling Saturday.
Munyai again displayed his immense potential, taking second place in the Men's 200m event in 20.10 at the Athletics Gauteng North League Meeting hosted by Tuks.
The exciting 19-year-old Rio Olympian bettered the SA Under-20 mark of 20.16 which had been set by Riaan Dempers in Germiston in April 1995.
He also narrowly missed out on breaking the national junior 100m record of 10.19, grabbing second spot in the shorter event in 10.20.
Simbine was equally impressive, starting his season with a bang.
The 23-year-old Rio Olympic finalist clocked 9.93 to secure victory in the 100m dash and went on to win the 200m in a Personal Best of 19.95, but his half-lap time was 0.08 outside Anaso Jobodwana's SA mark, clipping 0.21 off his own career best.
Simbine’s performance in the shorter sprint was 0.04 outside his own national senior record, but setting the fastest time ever run in South Africa.
He joined 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk as the only two South Africans to have run under 10 seconds over 100m and sub-20 seconds over 200m.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Frans broke the SA 30km record at the NMBM Human Race in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.
The unheralded 27-year-old athlete shattered his Personal Best by more than five minutes, defending his title at the annual race in 1:30:54.
He edged out marathon specialist Lusapho April, who crossed the line nine seconds later in second position.
April, who holds the SA 25km best (1:15:02), also went under the previous national 30km mark of 1:32:43 set by Neo Molema in Cape Town in January 2002.
Ntombesintu Mfunzi retained her title in the women's race in 1:54:43, less than two minutes outside the 30-year-old SA record of 1:53:01 held by Monica Drogemoller.
“This is proving to be a great weekend for South African athletics,” said a thrilled Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
“Our athletes are proving that they are already well focused early in the season and we congratulate all athletes concerned for their outstanding performances.
“This clearly shows that South African athletes are taking the challenge put to them by ASA to push themselves to the higher level of performance as we challenge the world top spot as a nation.
“Munyai has shown an impressive character, continuing from his great show of last season which made everyone sit and watch this fairly new kid on the block.
“Simbine must be commended with his coaches for again showing early season form, showing that he is almost ready to give us a greater performance.”