ASA have made the right call, says Maswanganyi
Fresh from his national junior 100m record-breaking run at the weekend, Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi has welcomed the news that Athletic South Africa (ASA) has postponed “with immediate effect, all athletics events in the country at all levels for 30 days because of the outbreak of the coronavirus”.
The 19-year-old sprinter blitzed to a 10.06-second run to win his semi-final heat during the Gauteng North Championships at the Tuks Athletics Stadium on Friday, in the process smashing the record of 10.11sec previously held by Thando Roto.
“Obviously the plan was to peak at the SA Champs and this changes everything. But obviously the call by ASA is the right one given the health risks involved. And for me, I see this as an opportunity to get a little grounded after the high from the weekend. As an athlete, when you are doing well you tend to want to push yourself even more and often that could lead to injury.
“So this suspension provides me with the opportunity relax a bit, focus on the training and change the routines.”
Maswanganyi, who has secured a track and field scholarship to study at the University of Houston, where he will be coached by the legendary Carl Lewis, was due to compete at the National Junior Championships in Paarl at the end of the month as well as at the senior champs in the second week of April.
But all that will happen only later after ASA aligned itself with the national state of disaster that was pronounced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.
In a statement released yesterday, ASA announced that the postponement will affect all schools athletics inclusive of the ASA National Primary Schools Track and Field Championships scheduled for Pietermaritzburg this weekend; all club and provincial activities including fun runs, park runs, road running, cross country, trail running as well as track and field events and all ASA championships, including the ASA Twizza National Under 16-20 Track and Field Championships, the 2020 ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series and the 3Sixty Life and Sizwe Medical ASA Senior Track and Field plus Combined Events.
ASA will then review this decision after April 15 and only then, based on the status of the virus in the country, decide what to do.
Following this announcement by ASA, a number of road running races - among them the popular Johannesburg race, the Jackie Gibson Marathon, Pretoria’s Irene Ultra and Limpopo’s Mall of the North - were postponed until further notice.
The postponements notwithstanding, ASA urged athletes to continue with their training and preparations for these events.
For Maswanganyi, there can be no letting up. Not with the momentum and confidence his record run has given him. Besides there is a major international event on the horizon that he is excitedly anticipating.
“There is the world champs in Kenya and I am looking forward to representing the country there.”
With that great run of his which is 0.17sec off Akani Simbine’s senior national record, the Soweto-born sprinter will definitely be among the favourites for that IAAF World Under-20 Championships scheduled for July.