Gift Leotlela crosses the finish line in Pretoria on Friday night. Photo: Varsity Athletics
PRETORIA – Tlotliso Gift Leotlela, the 18-year-old sprint sensation, lived up to his billing as the top junior sprinter in South Africa when he scorched to a record-equaling 10.12 seconds win in the men's 100m at the second and final Varsity Athletics meet held under near perfect conditions at the University of Pretoria on Friday night.

The big expected match-up between Leotlela and training partner Thando Roto unfortunately did not take place as Roto withdrew as a precautionary measure after experiencing a slight niggle in training.

That though did not stop Leotlela from screaming away from the field at the Varsity Athletics meeting to equal his SA junior record of 10.12.

Leotlela first broke the seven-year-old SA junior record of Akani Simbine of 10.19 when he clocked 10.12 at the provincial championships a fortnight ago. On Friday, his technique was near perfect as he blitzed the field to win by a margin of almost half a second over Keenan Michau – also from Tuks. Michau was timed at 10.56.

"I was happy with all the phases of my race except the final 10m,” said Leotlela. "My season so far has been really good, and I'm looking forward to the SA Junior Championships (April 7-8) in Cape Town to defend my title."

Earlier in the evening, Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks) romped home to a 13.22 win in the women's 100m hurdles. "My hamstring felt a bit stiff in the week, so I didn't push it as hard as I wanted to. But the sub-13 is still my plan, and I feel I'm on track. It will come,” she said.

Rival Maryke Brits (Kovsies) pushed her to just beyond halfway, before the Tuks athlete pulled away. Brits was second in 13.51.

Tuks was dominant in the sprints as SA junior record-holder in the 200m, Clarence Munyai, convincingly won the men's 200m race with a time of 20.25.

"I struggled in the last 50m. But I haven't trained since I ran the SA record two weeks ago. So I'm happy."

Munyai ran 20.10 on this very track at the Provincial Championships to break the 20.16 record of Riaan Dempers set in 1995.

Munyai was pushed by Kovsies' Heinrich Maartens at the bend, but as they came into the home straight, Munyai proved to be too powerful. Maartens was second in 20.62.

It was a tight overall finish, but Tuks claimed the title by just 525 points, pipping Pukke.

Varsity Athletics