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WATCH: Commonwealth Games gold medal ‘a proud moment’ 100m star Jonathan Ntutu

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Cape Town – At 36, most sportspeople – especially sprinters – would be winding down their careers, but Jonathan Ntutu seems to be getting faster and faster.

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The South African para-athletics legend, who hails from Gugulethu in Cape Town, showed that he still has what it takes to excel at international level when he charged to victory in the 100m T11/T12 class at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday night.

His winning time of 10.83 seconds was just outside his Games record of 10.80, which he set during a heat at Gold Coast 2018. Four years ago, he ran 11.02 to win the gold in the final, so to go even quicker at the Alexander Stadium was an incredible feat.

And Ntutu – who won a 100m silver and bronze at the Rio 2016 and London 2012 Paralympics respectively, as well as five other world championship medals – is not about to hang up his spikes either.

“No! That thing (retirement) can hold for some years to come. We will take it year by year, and see how things go. You have to listen to your body – if it doesn’t want to, it doesn’t want to. You have to respect it,” Ntutu said afterwards.

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“This year has been a tough year. I know I have two kids and a wife to look out for, so at the same time, I had to listen to what the coach is saying to me, in terms of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

“The training regimen has been quite tough this year. I had to believe and trust in the coach, in God, that things will get better soon. And here I am standing after 10.8 twice now (10.89 and 10.83) in two days. So, it’s a real proud moment for me.”

In fact, Ntutu felt that he could have gone even faster. He didn’t make the best of starts, with Malaysia’s Mohamad Ali Hanafiah blasting out of the blocks.

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But the South African closed the gap at around the 80-metre mark and went all the way to successfully defend his title ahead of England’s Zachary Shaw (10.90), with Namibia’s Ananias Shikongo, who had a guide alongside him, taking the bronze in 10.95 and Hanafiah fourth in 11.10.

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“The start was one of the crucial parts that we’ve worked at, especially the transition. But somewhere mid-race, I had a speed wobble, and I almost got tight,” Ntutu said.

“But I held it well together and today we are standing here with a 10.83 seconds – which is my second-fastest time! I am so proud of myself…

“I’ve run my second and third-fastest times here, and if I had kept it well together, I would probably have beaten my Games record, which is 10.80. So, I am well-pleased.”

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Athletics

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