Simbine creates more history, Roto runs sub-10
– The South African sprint revolution is real and was clear to see at the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) Championships on Saturday.
Akani Simbine and Thando Roto made history when they became the first athletes to both dip below 10 seconds in the same race at the Tuks Athletics track.
Trailing after almost 70 metres, Simbine had to work hard for the victory, crossing the line in a time of 9.92 seconds, with Roto following behind him.
Roto became the country’s fifth athlete to dip below 10 seconds, clocking a time of 9.95 and smashing his personal best by 0.23. The time catapults Roto into second place on the South African all-time list behind Simbine, who holds the national record of 9.89.
“I just realised now that I am the second-fastest South African behind Akani, it just clicked now,” a delighted Roto said.
“I was just dipping for the line and I knew Akani was ahead, I congratulated him because the clocked showed he had run 9.93 again. I knew if I can beat him, I can better myself because I knew he was the better athlete in the race.”
The championships produced a host of record-breaking feats, which included a new South African long jump record (8.62m by Luvo Manyonga), a world youth record, and a national junior record.
Simbine reached a special milestone during the final, reaching his 10th sub-10 after he posted a time of 9.98 in the morning heats.
Despite that, Simbine was visibly unhappy with his race as he had an uncharacteristically poor start. “I am disappointed with the race and how I put it together. When I needed my start to come together, it didn’t,” Simbine said.
“My first 30 metres wasn’t that great and from there to 70 metres I was on point, so if that part of my race was perfect, it would have been a really great time.
“I just saw him ahead and I told myself to try control myself and not tense up because if I tense up, then he would open up a gap.”
The second day of the championships produced another breakthrough moment when 18-year-old Gift Leotlela set a new South African junior 100m record when he clocked 10.12 in the heats.
Leotlela chopped 0.07 off the mark Simbine set in 2012. It is the second national junior mark to fall after Leotlela’s training partner Clarence Munyai bettered the 200m time over two weeks ago.
“I am happy, but I can’t say I am surprised because I knew it was in the legs, and I just needed to use the opportunity to break it,” Leotlela said. “My goal was to run a fast time… before the race I wasn’t feeling sharp, but I was happy with the time.”
These performances follow a massive first day of the championships, where Olympic long jump silver medallist Luvo Manyonga broke the South African and African record.
He climbed the world all-time list with a best leap of 8.62m, improving Khotso Mokoena’s national and African record he set in
in July 2009 by 12 centimetres.
Rising 16-year-old star Sokwakhana Zazini posted a new world youth record in the 400m hurdles when he posted a time of 48.84 seconds, improving the previous global mark by 0.17.
Late on Saturday afternoon, Fredriech Pretorius became only the second South African to break through 8 000 points in the decathlon when he amassed a total of 8 002.