Magakwe aims for 5th SA title

2013-04-11 13:13
Simon Magakwe (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Sprinting sensation Simon Magakwe will hope to extend his reign as the undisputed speed king at the SA Senior Championships in Stellenbosch on Friday and Saturday.

The joint national 100m record holder will be vying for his fifth straight South African title in the short sprint.

He became the first sprinter to win the 100m title four consecutive times at last year's championships in Port Elizabeth and won the 200m title for the fist time.

The 26-year-old will line up with senior regulars Leigh Julius, Roscoe Engel and Brent Stevens.

Magakwe's stiffest competition could, however, come from the crop of young Turks out to claim his scalp.

Newly crowned SA Junior champion Thado Roto last weekend beat some of the best junior athletes and could stake a claim along with Gideon Trotter, who last year clocked a season's best of 10.29 seconds.

Another rising youngster to test his mettle against senior athletes is Akani Simbine, who set a new SA junior 100m record of 10.19 seconds at the Zone 6 Games in Zambia last December.

Magakwe welcomed the prospect of having serious local opposition.

"I was surprised to hear there is a young boy running a 10.19, which is a good thing because at least the competition is getting there," Magakwe said about Simbine.

"People will be at the stadium to watch some serious races now and you have many guys who are trying to beat me."

At last year's championships he ran a fast 10.30 seconds in the final and later equalled Johan Rossouw's national record of 10.06 seconds.

Magakwe said he had put the record-breaking performance behind him and will turn his attention toward an even greater milestone.

"The 10.06 I ran last year is in the past and now I am looking for a new personal best but it is all about doing your best on the track and the performance will talk for itself.

"It depends on how the legs respond, it will come (breaking the 10 second barrier)."

The men's 200m race is also set to be a mouth-watering event with a classy field lining-up against Magakwe.

South African 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl is a surprise inclusion in the field and will only run in the 200m race instead of his specialist event.

The rest of the field include the likes of Trotter, Simbine and Lebogang Moeng.

A glaring omission from the championships is that of Caster Semenya, South Africa's only athletics medallist from the London Olympic Games.

The women's 800m silver medallist said she had an extended leave from the track and expected to run her first race in May.

Former world high jump champion Jacques Freitag will make his return following nearly five years' absence from athletics.

South African javelin queen Sunette Viljoen will start her season in earnest and will hope to put her Olympic heartbreak behind her.

The African record holder narrowly missed out on a medal at the London Games when she finished fourth in the final.

Men's long jump ace Khotso Mokoena will also have a point to prove following his disappointment at last year's Games where he finished eight in the final of the men's long jump.

Mokoena will also have a score to settle with Zarck Visser, who wrestled the title away from him at last year's championships.

Read more on:    simon magakwe  |  athletics

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