Athletics

Wayde set to challenge Tuks top sprinters in CT

Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo)
Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Wayde van Niekerk (Kovsies) versus some of Tuks top sprinters is what this weekend’s South African Universities Championships in Cape Town might boil down to.

According to the SuperSport website, In what is somewhat a surprise it seems as if the 400 metres Olympic and World Champion has decided to compete over the weekend. Danie Cornelius (Tuks Athletics Manager) said Van Niekerk has been entered to race both the 100 metres and the 200 metres.

If Van Niekerk should compete it could lead to the first ever sub ten second 100 metres race at sea level in South Africa. At the national championships in Potchefstroom Van Niekerk finished second in the 100 metres and Roto was third. Both ran 10.04s. Van Niekerk has a best time of 9.98s while Roto has run 9.95s.

It is safe to say that Gift Leotlela (Tuks) will relish another opportunity to race against Van Niekerk. So far in head to head clashes for the season the score is one all.

Leotlela caused a major upset earlier in Bloemfontein when he out sprinted Van Niekerk to win the 100 metres. Unfortunately the timing system did not work so nobody knows how fast exactly the Tuks-athlete might have run.

The past weekend at the South African Championships Van Niekerk won the 200 metres in 19.90s. Those who have been lucky enough to have seen the race said they were surprised by the way Van Niekerk slowed down over the last few metres. They thought a new national record was on the cards but he obviously he chose not to go for it. This means Van Niekerk has definitely got a lot left in his tank.

At the national championships in Potch Leotlela finished third in the 200 metre final running 20.20s. It is exciting to note that in both of his last 200 metres races the Tuks-athlete set personal bests. At the South African Junior Championships he won the 200 metres in 20.28s. With a bit of luck and weather allowing Leotlela could improve on the South African Junior record (20.10s) set by Clarence Munayi (TuksSport High School) earlier in the season.

Rikenette Steenkamp will resume her battle with the ever fast ticking stopwatch when she settles in her blocks for the start of the 100m-hurdles at the South African Universities Championships in Cape Town.

The Tuks-athlete’s quest for speed is a like a good athletics “soapy”. You know something is going to happen but you are never quite sure what exactly but you are seldom disappointed. It is getting to be a case that if you blink you might miss out seeing her making local athletics history.

In her last three meetings she has run times of 13.02s (Gauteng North Championships), 13.04s (League Meeting) and 13.02s (SA Championships). She is officially the second fastest South African female athlete in the 100m-hurdles. Corien Botha is the only women who ran a faster time of 12.94s in 1991 thus setting a new national record in Salamanca.

Steenkamp’s consistent fast times indicates that the sub-13 second race is on the cards it is just a case of when it is going to happen. It might just be this weekend in Cape Town.

It won’t be a surprise if the Tuks-athletes dominate during the Universities Championships. At the national championships in Potchefstroom they won no less than 13 gold medals, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals for a total of 37 medals. It is more than any province has won. Officially Northwest finished second on the medal table with a tally of 22.

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