Magakwe eyes world stage

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iol spt apr14 Magakwe

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File picture: Having crested the nine-second plateau, newly crowned national 100m record-holder Simon Magakwe is aiming to make his mark at the global stage.Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Having crested the nine-second plateau, newly crowned national 100m record-holder Simon Magakwe is aiming to make his mark at the global stage.

An astonished crowd at the University of Pretoria’s Tuks Athletics Stadium watched on Saturday as Magakwe sensationally broke the 100m record after clocking a time of 9.98 seconds at the SA Senior Athletics Championships 100m final.

“It’s important that we take this a step further and compete with the best in the world.

“It’s about time that South Africa show the rest of the world what we are capable of. I have competed a few times internationally but I just need to get more experience overseas because at times the nerves can get to you and if you panic, mistakes are bound to happen,” Magakwe said after he blitzed to victory.

The 27-year-old’s incredible dash rewrote the history books as he surpassed the previous 100m record of 10.06 seconds which he had held jointly with Johan Roussow.

The two fastest times in South African history were set as 20-year-old Akani Simbine, who finished in second place, also breached the previous record after he clocked 10.02 seconds. Emile Erasmus finished third with a time of 10.23 seconds to round off the podium finishers.

The race served to give South Africa a glimpse of things to come. Magakwe and Simbine could form a formidable relay team to represent the country. The duo feature with US-based 21-year-old Anaso Jobodwana, who has a personal best time of 10.10 seconds. Jobodwana, who is sidelined by injury, touched down at OR Tambo International Airport an hour before the race just in time to witness the great feat.

“This means a lot for South African athletics to see such a thing happen. It’s unbelievable. I think we can form a strong team in the relay. We just have to perfect the handover of the baton. But otherwise we should be good. For these guys to run fast times right here at home is awesome for the country and for the future,” Jobodwana said.

With the Commonwealth Games less than four months away, the nation may not have to wait long to see the trio team up. They have targeted qualifying for the global showpiece in Glasgow, Scotland, between July 23 and August 3.

A teary Simbine couldn’t contain his emotions after he ran his best race in his short career.

“I think this is just the beginning of great things to come, not only for myself but for the country. I think the three of us can push each other to the max. Last year was a bit tough for me because of injury and to be able to come back in this way is inexplicable. It’s a great accomplishment. All the training and hours I’ve put into it has paid off and if I continue to work hard I believe I can get even better,” Simbine said.

For Magakwe, the landmark was a culmination of six years of hard work for the sprinter from Rustenburg. “I’ve always known that I would run sub 10. I’ve worked hard for this. I have sacrificed a lot for this and to see it pay off is amazing. I was looking to run 9.8 seconds because that was our target going into the championships,” he said. “This is the greatest day of my life, especially significant after coming from last year when I struggled with injury. I’m grateful it’s all coming together.”

The championships took place on Friday and Saturday. About 570 athletes competed at the biggest showpiece event in the southern hemisphere. - Pretoria News


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