Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
VAN NIEKERK ON FIRE AT FREE STATE CHAMPS
Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk stole the show on Saturday, producing the performance of the weekend as the various provincial track and field championships around the country drew to a close.
Van Niekerk, the world 400m champion, shattered his 100m personal best by 0.50 to win the Free State title in Bloemfontein in 9.98 seconds.
He became the fourth South African to dip under 10 seconds in the 100m sprint, and missed Akani Simbine’s national record set earlier in the week by just 0.02.
In the process, the 23-year-old athlete became the first man in history to run under 10 seconds in the 100m event, 20 seconds in the 200m (19.94) and 44 seconds in the 400m (43.48).
Elsewhere at the weekend, long jumper Luvo Manyonga was in superb form in Pretoria, winning the Gauteng North title in his specialist event with a best effort of 8.30m.
Continuing his comeback from a lengthy layoff after being suspended from the sport for recreational drug use, Manyonga confirmed he was on the rise again by setting a new personal best.
Simbine also did well in Pretoria, winning the 100m final in 10.01, though his performance was overshadowed by Van Niekerk’s stunning victory.
Meanwhile, in Potchefstroom, two-lap specialist Caster Semenya also stuck up her hand at the North West Championships.
Chopping another chunk off her 400m personal best, after setting a career record of 52.21 a week earlier, she charged around the track in 51.47 seconds to qualify for the one-lap event at the Rio Games.