DOHA – Clarence Munyai is one step closer to his long-time dream after he finished second in his 200m heat during the IAAF World Championship in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, running 20.29 seconds.
He is now through to Monday's semifinal.
The University of Pretoria-based (Tuks) athlete was beaten by Andre de Grasse, who won a bronze medal in the 100m on Saturday. The Canadian was clocked at 20.20.
South Africa's Anaso Jobodwana is also through to the 200m semifinals, finishing third in his heat in a time of 20.35.
Munyai is a man on a mission. By his own admission, he has ticked all but one box over the last four years - to win a medal at a major championship.
"When I predicted I was going to be fast, I was. When I talked about winning the South African senior 200m title, I did so,” said Munyai.
"When I said I had my sights set on the South African record, I was not only making small talk. The one thing, however, I was not able to do yet is podium at an important championship.
"Running fast times is all good and well, but at the end of the day, any athlete is only remembered for their exploits at a World Championship or the Olympic Games.
"Nobody cares who ran the fastest times in April or any other month. It is the three athletes who will finish on the podium on Tuesday that people will be talking about.
"For this reason, my only goal for this year is to try and medal at the World Championship. Everything that I have done in the build-up was to ensure that I am now at my best."
So far Munyai's best time for the season is 20.04. It currently ranks him as one of the 14th-fastest 200m athletes in the world.
His ultimate highlight was in 2018 when he set a new South African record, clocking 19.69 at Tuks.
In 2016 when competing at Rio Olympic Games as an 18-year-old, Munyai could claim to be inexperienced when he did not progress past the heats.
During the 2017 World Championship in London, he was disqualified in the heats for stepping on the line.
Last year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, however, was a huge disappointment. Munyai won his heat, was second in the semifinal but then ended up fourth in the final. The Tuks-based athlete admits to having no excuse.
"I did not execute a good race. It is as simple as that," said Munyai.
Tuks' Akani Simbine ended up finishing fourth in Saturday's 100m final. He clocked a season's best time of 9.93. Christian Coleman (USA) won in 9.76.
Justlin Gatlin (USA) was second in 9.89 and Andre de Grasse (Canada) third in 9.90s.
Another Tuks athlete Tebogo Mamathu failed to qualify for the 100m women's semifinals, running 11.42 in the heats.
Lindsay Hanekom, also from Tuks, was eliminated in the 400m hurdles heats running 51.71