PRETORIA – Tuks athlete Rikenette Steenkamp is on track to threaten the long-standing South African record in the 100m hurdles event.
Last weekend, during the University Sports South Africa Athletics Championships in Sasolburg, she won in a time of 13.04 seconds, just 0.05 slower than the 12.99 personal best time she set last year.
Corien Botha set the national mark way back in 1998 when she ran 12.94.
Steenkamp has deliberately chosen to have a more conservative start to her season this year and Saturday was only the third time she had raced.
At the end of March in her first race, she ran 13.24 in Sasolburg, two weeks ago in Potchefstroom she clocked 13.13 and her latest effort stopped the clock on 13.04.
"I think I’ve made a wise decision to race less locally, as it means I’ll start my European campaign fresh," said Steenkamp. "I have a whole month to train before my next race which is 4 June in Prague, Czech Republic."
Last year Steenkamp competed in five international races, winning four and finishing second once. She twice clocked times faster than 13 seconds. In Ostrava, Czech Republic, her time was 12.99.
During a meeting in Switzerland, she ran 12.92 which was 0.02 quicker than Botha’s national record. Unfortunately, the tailwind was measured at 2.01m/s which meant it was just too strong (0.01m/s) to be officially recognised.
The Tuks athletics team had a poor performance at the USSA Championships, finishing fourth overall. Northwest Pukke won, with the University of Johannesburg second and Kovsies third.
What counted against Tuks was their lack of depth outside the sprint events. Northwest Pukke won gold medals in 12 events with the University of Johannesburg’s athletes being victorious in nine. Kovsies won seven, while Tuks only won five gold medals (all sprints or hurdling).
Thembo Monareng set a new personal best time, winning the 100m in 10.18.
Meanwhile, Sokwakhana Zazini (Tuks Sport High School) is busy setting up an impressive record when it comes to winning local races.
At the CAA Southern Region Youth and Junior Championships in Boksburg, he managed to win both the 400m hurdles (49.99) and the 400m (46.07).
The last time he was beaten locally while racing in his age group (Under-18 and Under-20) was in 2016.
African News Agency (ANA)