PRETORIA - Clarence Munyai annihilated the South African 200m record held by Wayde van Niekerk to climb to 10th place on the world all-time list with a time of 19.69 seconds at the SA Track and Field Championships on Friday.
Munyai took a massive 0.15-second chunk off the previous mark Van Niekerk posted in Jamaica last year when he clocked 19.84.
“I knew the conditions were going to be good and I saw from yesterday (Thursday) the people are running really fast times,” Munyai said.
“I told myself to come here and put on a show like they did yesterday.
“I knew I had 19.8 in my legs but when I saw 19.7, I was like eish, I didn't expect that.”
Three-time world champion Caster Semenya made short work of her 800m heat racing to a fast time of one minute, 58.93 seconds (1:58.93).
Semenya made her intentions clear from the start as she went through the first lap just under a minute in scorching conditions.
“It is better to run in the heat because I still have a final tonight in the 1500m and when I go tomorrow (Saturday) in the 800m I am confident about what I can do,” Semenya said.
“It is still early season and we started early, the base was good, so now it is about being consistent about what we do.”
In the next heat, former South African sprinting great Evette de Klerk’s daughter Danette Marais also qualified for Saturday’s 800m final.
De Klerk’s 28-year-old national 100m record was broken on Thursday when Carina Horn shaved 0.03s off the previous mark posting a time of 11.03.
An elated @clarence_munyai after smashing the SA 200m record with a time of 19.69 seconds in the semi-final at the SA Track and Field Champs. That is the 10th fastest 200m time of all-time. #ClarenceMunyai pic.twitter.com/3ALyDiUsbQ
“It is not nice to see the record go because I know how hard I worked on that record but it is good for Carina, she tried for a long time,” De Klerk said.
“If it didn’t happen then you know the standard of athletics is not good, so it was the time for it to be broken.”
De Klerk, who still holds the South African 200m record of 22.06 she set in 1989, said she was concerned about the general standard of female sprinting in the country.
“You have a standout performance here and there but when I set the national record in the 200m I did barefoot,” De Klerk said.
“We were five athletes in that race that dipped below 23 seconds in that race, so we had a group of athletes that performed.”
Justine Palframan and Alyssa Conley are the only athletes that have been able to dip below 23 seconds over the last three years.
Meanwhile, shot put ace Orazio Cremona clinched his seventh national title with a best heave of 20.71m.
“Last year was special…I dedicate this to God and also to my family that sacrifice a lot for me and especially my wife, she hardly sees me and is always calm and collected,” Cremona said.
“This is my third competition of the year and I feel like I am very strong, I missed some good throws out there. It was just that lack of composure and nothing else.”
The throw was his fourth best in competition and ranks him fourth in the Commonwealth.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Burger Lambrechts Senior, who has been competing since 1994 won the silver medal with a best attempt of 18.67m with Jason van Rooyen bagging bronze with 18.63m.