Day one of South Africa Athletics Senior Championship was followed with some interesting intrigues.
First it was the news of withdrawal of 400m world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk because of injury, and then in the opening heat the favourite in the women’s 100m, Viwe Jingqi, pulled out after tweaking her hamstring on the warm-up track.
Ruswahl Samaai also follow suit by not showing up in the men’s long jump, apparently after falling ill and being unable to surface from his training base in the US.
And if that wasn’t enough, officials messed up the placement of the hurdles in the men’s 110m race, where participants in the first heat crashed midway because the hurdles were too close. The race was re-run later.
But the sunshine of the day came from Akani Simbine who won his sixth title in the 100m final. He crossed the line in 10.31, just three-hundredths of a second in front of 17-year-old Bradley Nkoana, the SA under-18 champion. Neo Mosebi, the SA under-20 title-holder, was third in 10.34 and Henricho Bruintjies fourth in 10.40.
His stablemate, Carina Horn, won the women’s 100m to give their coach Prinsloo the national sprint double.
Dominique Scott dominated the women’s 5,000m race with a performance that left Caster Semenya in her shadow at Green Point stadium.
She had trailed Semenya and Glenrose Xaba for most of the distance, but with four laps to go Scott attacked and crossed the line unchallenged in 15 min 28.10 sec. Semenya was second in a 15:31.50 best, still well short of the 15:10.00 qualifying time required for the world championships later this year.
Mbuleli Mathanga won the men’s 10,000m in 28:22.74.