Magakwe builds on fine form with Grand Prix win

Simon Magakwe (Gallo Images)
Simon Magakwe (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former national 100m record holder Simon Magakwe stormed over the line in 10.06 seconds at the Athletics Grand Prix Series meeting in Bloemfontein on Saturday night, earning another morale-boosting victory in the early stages of the 2019 season.

Magakwe equalled his season's best in the short sprint, cementing his place as the fastest man in the country this year, less than two weeks ahead of his national title defence at the ASA Senior and Combined Events Track and Field Championships in Germiston, Johannesburg.

"I'm happy with the race but I was disappointed with my start," Magakwe admitted. "I'm always slow at the start and I have to catch up, which is not good. But I'm happy with the time and I want to go faster at the SA Championships. I need to correct my start."

In the women's 100m event, Tebogo Mamatu maintained her composure despite contending with multiple delays to the start of the race due to technical difficulties. She dipped at the line in 11.44, holding off Tamzin Thomas by just 0.01 in a thrilling battle.

"These things happen and sometimes you just have to be prepared for it," Mamatu said. "It got a bit chilly out there (because of the delays) and I almost felt I was cramping, but I can't complain."

Also made to work hard, SA 400m hurdles champion Lindsay Hanekom held on for a well-earned victory in the one-lap race over the barriers. He clocked 49.64, with former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Cornel Fredericks grabbing the runner-up spot in 49.66.

"I couldn't be any more happy with today's win," Hanekom said. "I was injured last year, but I went back and worked on strength and conditioning, and I just came here to execute and win the race. It's a confidence boost for me and I'm happy to be healthy going forward."

In the women's 400m hurdles contest, world junior champion Zeney van der Walt had it all her own way, coasting home in 57.67 and finishing almost a full second clear of her nearest opponent.

Infield, long jumper Zarck Visser produced his second eight-metre clearance of the season with a winning leap of 8.13m. And shot put giant Orazio Cremona launched a 20.19m heave to maintain his lengthy dominance at domestic level in his specialist discipline. Teenager Kayle Blignaut fell narrowly short of the 20-metre mark, taking second place with a best attempt of 19.73m.

Gaining some valuable racing experience ahead of the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama next month, the SA men's 4x100m team of Magakwe, Emile Erasmus, Chederick van Wyk and Akani Simbine won the sprint relay in 38.88, with the national B team settling for second position in 40.13. And the SA women's 4x100m quartet clocked 45.88, completing the race more than two seconds ahead of the Kingdom of Eswatini national team who finished second.

The second and final leg of the Athletics Grand Prix series will be held in Potchefstroom, North West on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

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