SPORTS DRIPS: SA track star Clarence Munyai following in the footsteps of Usain Bolt
Share this article:
Welcome to SPORTS DRIPS for this week. Today we will be chatting to one of the World’s fastest men – The world champion 4x100m mens winner – Clarence Munyai is the current South African record holder in the 200 metres, with a time of 19.69, set on 16 March 2018 at the South African national championships and has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Clarence recently signed for Puma following in the footsteps of Athletics Icon Usain Bolt.
Munyai, who was inspired by Usain Bolt’s electrifying performances at the 2012 London Olympics, set the national record with a blistering time of 19.69 at the National Championships in 2018. He also competed as an 18-year-old at the 2016 Rio Olympics, making him the second youngest Track & Field male ever to compete for South Africa at the Games, where he narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot.
Coached by the legendary Hennie Kriel, Munyai reached the semi-finals at the World Championships in 2019 where he was also part of the SA 4x100m-relay team that set a new African and South African record. The 23-year-old is currently a member of the 4 x 100m relay team which has been training at the Athletics South Africa camp in Pretoria in preparation to challenge for a medal at the Tokyo Games.
“Clarence is a world-class sprinting talent who has set the tack alight at a relatively young age. We are proud to welcome him to the PUMA family and are excited to see his progression on the global stage,” said Brett Bellinger, Marketing Director of PUMA South Africa.
Munyai said: “Usain Bolt inspired me to sprint, so it is a dream come true to join PUMA and get to wear their spikes and realise my goals, which include making an Olympic final and winning a medal.”
I had the privilege to chat to Puma SA’s Brett Belinger and Clarence Munyai this week about the Athletics SA partnership and how they succeeded at the World Athletics Relay Championships:
How did the partnership with ASA come about - what enticed the brand to formalise a partnership?
It is a global deal that was signed between the PUMA Global Sports Marketing Team and ASA. PUMA South Africa are merely the party to leverage opportunities and to ensure that we are on the ground with ASA to support where we can.
Which athletes are you brand ambassadors within the ASA team?
Ruswahl Samaai, Clarence Munyai, Wenda Nel, Rikenette Steenkamp and Luke Davids.
How does it feel to be the brand behind the fastest 100m relay team in the World?
The achievement of the Team was fantastic and it’s great to the SA Team with the leaping cat proudly on their chests on the top step. Of course, sprinting and high-performance track and field is in our blood and we have a long and storied history in the space with sprinters like Jesse Owens, Linford Christie, Asafa Powell, Andre de Grasse and Usain Bolt among many others but also our long-standing partnership with the Jamaican Athletics Federation.
Please note that PUMA is not the partner of the SA Olympic Team, that is a separate deal from the one with ASA. However, the athletes listed will compete in their PUMA spikes during the Olympic Games.
Chat with Clarence Munyai:
Well done on your team victory. What was going through your mind while waiting for that announcer to call out the winners?
Waiting for the results was more stressful than the race! It felt like the world had stopped moving. We had worked so hard for this this moment and to win a world titles is something really special. Then to see our country first on the big screen was really amazing. I can’t describe the feeling because that’s how great it felt.
What did your coach Paul Gorries tell you guys before the race to motivate you?
Coach Paul told us to trust ourselves and our teammates and that if we could get the exchange done perfectly we could win the final. He told us to focus on executing our own race and not on our competition because we have a really strong team. Having a coach who believes in you really helps when it comes to big races.
Tokyo Olympics is the next big event - How confident are you guys for the team and individual events?
I am really confident and know I can do really well in my individual race over 200m and in the relay, as I’ve been working hard for this moment. I am mentally and physically prepared but I don’t want to speak too much about Tokyo yet as there are still other races before that and I need to take every race as it comes.
Your personal partnership with Puma - how has the brand and its products enhanced your performance and confidence?
To have a brand like PUMA supporting me on my journey by believing in my talent and investing in me has been really beneficial. It gives me so much motivation because as an athlete I grew up watching Usain Bolt competing in PUMA gear. Knowing the same team that helped him become a global icon believes in my potential as an athlete is really a special feeling and a great opportunity which I never take for granted.
WIN with INDEPENDENT MEDIA and PUMA.
To stand a chance to win a PUMA hamper and signed PUMA spikes by Clarence Munyai, answer the following question: Which City hosted the World Relay Championships in 2021: SMS “ PUMA & (your answer)" followed by your name, surname, email address to 33258. Terms and conditions apply, sms cost R1.50
Follow IOLSport on social media and check out our brand new IOLSport show with Zaahier Adams on YouTube.
We will be having a few cool competitions coming out on IOLSport this month please keep an eye out for them.
From me at Sports Drips: Keep moving, stay warm and stay safe.
Like our Facebook page: Sport Drips SA check out some of the video’s.