Jumper Visser shows superb form
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Pretoria - South African long jump ace Zarck Visser produced the performance of the day at the SA Senior Athletics Championships in Pretoria on Friday.
Visser claimed the national title for the third consecutive year with a massive 8.31 metres jump on his first attempt.
While the 24-year-old Visser's attempt was the third best jump of all time, he has greater accolades in his sights in the not-too-distant future.
“Since I had the position at that stage (after the first jump) I was going for that 8.50m (national record) of Godfrey Mokoena, but luckily for him I didn't get it,” an elated Visser said.
“But it will come some time soon, so we are just hoping for the best and we are working for big distances.”
He was followed by Ruswahl Samaai, with a distance of 7.98m, while Dylon Cotter claimed third place with 7.67m.
Visser is consistently reaching the eight-metre mark and it seems only a matter of time before he breaks his training partner's national record.
“I have jumped that distance at least two times in training and once in competition, but it was a no-jump,” he said.
“The frustration now is to get on the board and get it on paper. That is why I am fighting with every single jump.”
Another highlight on the first day of the championships came in the sprints where South African speed king Simon Magakwe narrowly missed out on breaking his joint 100m record in the semi-finals.
It was possibly one of the fastest semi-finals at the championships as Magakwe clocked a time of 10.07 seconds, which was 0.01 seconds slower than the national mark he shares with Johan Rossouw.
Roscoe Engel was the fastest in his semi-final with a time of 10.17 seconds, while another challenger for the title, Akani Simbine, won his race in 10.11 seconds.
The times could set the stage for a history-making final on Saturday, when a sub-10 seconds could be on the cards.
After the race Magakwe said he believed if the conditions were similar to those on Friday he could be the first South African to break 10 seconds in the 100m.
“My aim was to run around nine seconds in the semis, but after running the 200m heats I felt so tired,” Magakwe said.
“The guys are improving all the time. It's going to be an awesome final that should not be missed.
“I want to go for sub-10 1/8seconds 3/8. My coach dreamt it would be a 9.87 seconds, he dreamt three times,” he said.
Meanwhile, South African hammer throw legend Chris Harmse won his 19th straight national title in his specialist event.
There were some nervous moments for the 40-year-old athlete when a youngster half his age came close to upsetting him.
Harmse's hammer landed at 70.56m, while 18-year-old Tshepang Makhethe took second place with a distance of 65.60m and Kristiaan Bekker took third with 63.41m.
Interestingly, Makhethe had not been born when Harmse won his first title and the veteran expressed his excitement over the emergence of the youngster on the hammer throw scene.
“Tshepang is a young guy coming through and that is going to help a lot. It is amazing. He is also coached by Basie Koen, and we have a good system at the hammer throw academy in Sasolburg,” he said.
In the javelin throw, Robert Oosthuizen continued his stranglehold on his specialist event, winning his seventh national title.
His heave of 78.80m was good enough to take the spoils, with Rocco van Rooyen finishing second with 77.59m and Philmar van Rooyen third with a distance of 76.15m.
“It is my second meet for the year, so I'm ecstatic,” Oosthuizen said.
In the women's long jump, Lynique Prinsloo retained her title despite a strong challenge from training partner Carla Marais.
She claimed the spoils with a distance of 6.45m, with Marais taking silver with 6.42m and Samantha Pretorius third with 6.21m.