One of South Africa’s most promising international sprinters made a surprise announcement on Wednesday, with Ncincilili Titi bringing a close to his top-flight career.
At the age of 25, the US-based athlete had been considered a potential medal prospect at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, but Titi revealed he was struggling to find sufficient support to cover medical costs
Playing a key role as part of a breakthrough generation for South African sprinting, Titi first showed his potential at senior level at the age of 20, winning the national 200m title in Pretoria. The Eastern Cape speedster scorched across the line in 20.41 seconds, holding off a challenge from Akani Simbine, who was 0.06 off the pace in second position.
Titi was quick over a range of distances, but it was in the 200m event that he really shone. He clocked 20.00 while competing for the University of South Carolina on the US collegiate circuit last year, climbing to fifth place in the all-time SA rankings in the half-lap dash. And his indoor personal best of 20.45, set in Clemson last season, remains a national indoor best.
“Time to hang up my spikes, focus on other things, I guess till further notice. Despite several PBs (personal bests) my past season was plagued by a medical problem. Just can’t figure it out. These first world doctors can’t either… and I just can’t put any more resources into it at this time.”Ncinci Titi on Twitter
Having settled for fourth place at the 2014 African Championships in Marrakech, just 0.10 outside a place on the podium, Titi made a spectacular return to the continental showpiece in Asaba last year. He stormed to victory in the men’s 200m final in 20.46, crossing the line 0.14 clear of his nearest opponent.
Holding a career best of 10.17 in the 100m sprint, Titi proved to be a useful component in national relay teams. He formed part of the SA quartet who set a national 4x100m record of 38.35 (which has since broken) at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and he earned a bronze medal as part of the relay squad that stepped on the podium at the 2015 World Student Games in Gwangju.
“I did leave home but home never left me. Would be lovely if ASA or Sascoc would step in, but sadly that’s not my reality. I do have other passions, so that’s where my energy is gonna be going now.”Ncinci Titi