Some world-class performances were produced last week, with the local track and field season coming to a close at the three-day Sizwe Medical Fund and 3SixtyLife ASA Senior Championships held in Germiston between 25-27 April.
While some of the nation’s elite stars were missing from the start line in their specialist disciplines, with the likes of SA record holders Wayde van Niekerk, Clarence Munyai and Carina Horn withdrawing due to apparent injury concerns, others made up for their absence by shining on the track and in the field.
We look back on the highlights of the domestic spectacle.
Breaking through the 49-second barrier for the first time, Hanekom stormed around the track to claim the men’s 400m hurdles title in 48.81.
Facing a strong field, he held off world junior champion Soks Zazini (49.33) and former Commonwealth Games champion Cornel Fredericks (49.87) to retain his crown.
“I wanted to come out here and run a personal best because I’ve been trying to run sub-49 for three years. So I’m happy, training is going well and I just did what I could today.”Lindsay Hanekom
Taking a big step forward, Cremona launched a massive personal best of 21.51m to lift the national men’s shot put crown for the eighth time.
Already lying second in the all-time SA rankings, he narrowed the gap on the national record of 21.97m held by Janus Robberts.
Though he admitted afterwards he had hoped to go bigger, world champion Manyonga was again in fine form, opening his 2019 campaign with a solid victory in the men’s long jump.
He landed at 8.35m to beat early leader Ruswahl Samaai (8.21m) in a hard-fought battle between two of the world’s best jumpers, while former African champion Zarck Visser also cleared eight metres to finish third (8.01m).
“I was hoping for something special today and it didn’t come, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s still the international circuit and this year is very important to me. I’m looking forward to it.”Luvo Manyonga
Opening her national championships campaign in style, Semenya won the women’s 5000m final in only her second attempt at the distance, clocking 16:05.97 in a tactical battle and outclassing Olympic 10 000m finalist dom Scott-Efurd who settled for the silver medal.
Semenya, the world and Olympic 800m champion, went on to secure a comfortable victory in the women’s 1 500m final in 4:13.59, before leading the Athletics Gauteng North 4x400m relay team
After giving the 100m event a miss, Simbine lived up to the hype over the 200m distance. He charged home in a season’s best of 20.27 seconds, again showing early potential ahead of the international season.
Simbine also led a national invitation team to victory in 39.35 in the men’s 4x100m relay final.
“My training sessions are going well and we know I’m in the right place at the moment.”Akani Simbine