Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
LEOTLELA GUNNING FOR 10-SECOND BARRIER
While his immediate goal is for sprint prodigy Tlotliso Leotlela to find consistency at top-flight level, coach Hennie Kriel believes the teenager can dip under the 10-second barrier within the next two seasons.
The 17-year-old TuksSport High School student has two more years in the junior ranks before he steps up to senior level, and he has already shown his tremendous potential as one of the nation’s most promising sprint talents.
“The challenge at the moment is to get him to consistently run times of 10.20 seconds and faster,” Kriel said on Tuesday.
“If he could end the season running 10.10 I would be more than satisfied because it will prove that he is on track to run a sub-10 second race. If not this year he will definitely do so next year.”
Leotlela set a national youth 100m record of 10.20 to win the Commonwealth Youth Games title in Samoa last year, just 0.01 outside the age group world best held by Japanese athlete Yoshihide Kiryu.
He also clocked a 200m personal best of 20.63 in Pretoria in March last year, which placed him second behind Kyle Appel (20.57) in the all-time SA Under-18 rankings.
Leotlela, who was fifth in the 200m final at last year’s World Youth Championships in Cali, opened his 2016 season with a 10.46 performance in the short sprint at Pilditch Stadium on Saturday.
Kriel admitted the young speedster had hoped to go faster.
“Tlotliso was disappointed with his time but he should learn that in athletics you don’t always get to run the times you expect. You have to learn to deal with the disappointments,” Kriel said.
“The really fast times usually happen when you least expect it.”
Leotlela, who is expected to be among the medal favourites at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz in July, will take his next step in the early stages of the season when he turns out in the 200m dash at the first leg of the ASA Nite Series in Pretoria next week.