SA records broken as teen stuns Wayde van Niekerk in 100m sprint, Frans breaks 30km record in Uitenhage

BY MARC JACOBSON - MARCH 9, 2017
SA records broken as teen stuns Wayde van Niekerk in 100m sprint, Frans breaks 30km record in Uitenhage

The last week evidently proved to be a record-breaking period for South African athletics, which included sprinting, running and long-jump prowess from various athletes over the track and road scene.

In Free State on Wednesday (8th March), there saw a big upset when 19-year-old Gift Leotlela beat Olympic Gold Medalist, Wayde van Niekerk, in the 100m sprint at the ASA Speed Series Meeting in Bloemfontein.

Just starting off his career, Leotlela shot off the mark with flying colours after stunning the 400m Olympic Gold Medalist in the shorter sprint, but due to a technical glitch in the timing system – his time was logged in at 10.00 seconds. Van Niekerk’s time was clocked in at 10.10 seconds.

Leotla heaped some praise for van Niekerk’s record-breaking achievements in seeping those achievements through to the lower and unheralded athletic ranks in South Africa, specifically sprinting.

“When Wayde broke the world record last year, it just motivated all of us to do better, and we are getting better as a result," Leotlela told Sport24.     

Without undermining Leotla’s win, van Niekerk admits that there is work to be done ahead of the IAAF World Championship in London later this year and that the international arena is where the scene should be set.

"I really don't want to make any excuses, but technically I'm very rusty and I need to work on that," Van Niekerk admits.

"But we've got some time, and we need to win at the major competitions. That's what counts,” he added.

At the same event, Ruan de Vries broke the SA record for the 110m hurdle race with a time of 13:23, bettering the previous record set by Lehann Fourie in 2012 by a mere split second.

Long-jumper, Luvo Manyonga, also managed to leapfrog the SA long-jump record in his first event of the year, when he jumped a phenomenal distance of 8.46m, two cm ahead of Khotso Mokoena’s previous national record set in 2009.  

In the Nelson Mandela Bay’s Uitenhage at the NMBM Human Race last Saturday, unsung 27-year-old runner, Melikhaya Frans defended his title and broke the SA road running record for 30km and his own personal best, with a time of 1:30.54.

In a single race, there saw the former 15-year-standing record of 1:32.43, set by Neo Molema in 2002, being broken twice by Frans and second-placed, Lusapho April respectively.

Frans managed to wallop his own record by almost six minutes, which was set on the 5th of March 2016 at the annual Uitenhage race with a recorded time of 1:36.30.

Marathon specialist, Lusapho April, coming in at second, was not far behind as he crossed the line just nine seconds after Frans. In his own reputable running tenure, April currently holds the record for SA’s 25km best time of 1:15.20.

In Tshwane last Saturday, 23-year-old, Akani Simbine started his season off with flare, as he beat his own and SA’s national senior record for the 100m sprint with a time of 9.93 seconds. The previous SA record, also set by him, was 9.97 seconds.

Simbine also reached his personal best time for the 200m sprint with a time of 19:95 seconds, bettering his previous time of 20.16 seconds. The SA record for the 200m sprint is 19.87seconds, set by Anaso Jobodwana at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

Image: Gift Leotlela (middle) in SA colours at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.