Clarence Munyai qualified for the 200m World Championships. Photo: Jalal Morchidi/EPA

HEUSDEN – The South African record holder, Clarence Munyai, qualified for the world championships in Doha after he won the 200 metres in Heusden, The Netherlands, in a time of 20.04s on Saturday night.

The Tuks-based sprinter showed his rivals a clean pair of heels by bursting out of the starting blocks. He never relented and widened the gap with each stride. 

Belgium's Jonathan Borlee was second in 20.04s and Kobe Vleminckx also from Belgium third in 21.06s.

It is his best performance since March last year when he ran a time of 19.69s. Munyai had been going through a tough time ever since. It was not due only to untimely injuries. 

The biggest drawback was that he started to doubt in his abilities as a sprinter. Getting scared to race because he feared he might fail. In part, it was due to him being a perfectionist. 

Every time Munyai settles in his starting blocks, he wants to race to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, the reality in sport is that an athlete often has to fail before he can succeed. 

Munyai's saving grace is his genuine love for speed. There is nothing he relishes more than to challenge the stopwatch. Having someone like Hennie Kriel (Grigora head coach) helping him is a definite asset. As a coach, Kriel is continuously emphasizing to all his athletes never to accept mediocrity.

Kriel predicted from day one that Munyai has what it takes to beat the world's best 200 metres sprinters. Getting the Tuks based sprinter to believe it proved to be somewhat more challenging.

As to why he prefers racing 200 metres Munyai said: "I am in the lucky position that I can go out fast with the best running a good curve or I could start slightly slower and be fast when it matters."

He was hesitant about predicting any times.

"I prefer to let my legs do the talking first, and then I will discuss what happened afterwards. For the first time, I am strong and fit enough to go through three rounds of serious racing," Munyai said, referring to when he might race at a major championship. 

Another Tuks based sprinter, Akani Simbine, made his history on Saturday when he won the 100 metres during the London  Diamond League Meeting. 

It is only Simbine's second Diamond League victory. The first was in 2017 when he outsprinted the likes of Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin and Andre de Grasse winning in 9.99s.

On Saturday his winning time was 9.93s. Zarnel Hughes (Britain) was second in 9.95s and Yohan Blake (Jamaica) third in 9.97s.

Simbine's victory proves that his preparation for the World Championships is on track as from the beginning of the year the goal was for him to ran a season's best in London. He did. His previous best was 9.95s. 

African News Agency (ANA)