Carina Horn has proved to herself that she can challenge the world’s best sprinters. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Breaching the sub-11 second barrier did little to satisfy Carina Horn’s appetite for success as it simply left her craving more.

The 29-year-old became the first South African woman to dip below 11 seconds over 100 metres at the Doha Diamond League meeting last month. Horn chopped 0.05sec off her previous record, crossing the line in fifth place with a time of 10.98.

She shaved 0.03sec off the off the 28-year-old record first set by Evette de Klerk back in 1990.

While Horn hopes to consistently dip below 11 seconds, she has learned not to force it. “The goal is to consistently run sub-11 and when I go to the track I know I want a sub-11. But I’ve learned not to think about times because it will come on its own,” Horn said.

“You have to work from the starting line to the finish and focus on what you need to do to get that time.”

Horn proved she can challenge the world’s best sprinters, finishing ahead of 200m world champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands in Doha.

Ivorian 100/200m double silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou won the race with a world-leading time of 10.85 with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare finishing second in 10.90.

Rio 2016 Olympic 100/200m double gold medallist Elaine Thompson of Jamaica rounded off the podium by clocking 10.93.

“When I crossed the line I didn’t know in what position I was in because I saw Blessing was slightly ahead of me,” Horn recalled. “As I dipped I looked to the left to see what was going on and I saw an 11.03 flashing.

“I thought if the winning time is an 11.03 then I should quit running, I am done.

“But after a few seconds I saw Ta Lou celebrating and they were announcing it as a world leading time.”

Horn then looked back in anticipation as the times appeared one by one on the big screen.

“When I saw my name come up with a 10.98 I was like ‘Oh my word!’ and there was a block with South Africans seated close to the finish and when my name flashed they started cheering and it felt like I had won the race.”

Horn did tend to tense up towards the latter stages of her race but she has realised that forcing it does not necessarily translate into faster times.

“Sometimes you give it your all then your time is slower but when I say ‘I am just going to relax but still push’, the time is faster,” she explained.

“It is as if you run faster when you give 98 percent instead of 100 percent because at 100 percent you maybe don’t get your stride length and that is where I make mistakes.

“After the race you feel that you could have given more and although it was not the perfect race, it was my perfect race what I have waited for.”

Horn said her main goal for the season is to feature in the Diamond League final and make further improvements. “I need to make sure what I did to find that consistency, and to do it on a regular basis.

“I just need to learn how to keep working till the end because my start is now the best it has ever been.

“So coming out of the driving phase I need to learn how to keep on hitting the ground to the finish.”

Sunday Independent

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