Stellenbosch - South African sprinting ace Simon Magakwe won his fifth national title in the 100m at the SA Senior Athletics Championships in Stellenbosch on Friday.
The South African record holder won in a time of 10.45 seconds, staving off an attack from Henrico Bruintjies, who finished second in a time of 10.58 seconds. Akani Simbine was third in 10.63 seconds.
The 26-year-old said while he was happy with winning the title for the fifth consecutive time, he was slightly disappointed with the time.
"I am happy about winning the title, but I thought I would run a good time," Magakwe said.
“I had a bad start but I managed to recover the distance they had on me.”
Magakwe nevertheless felt it was a good start to his season as it was his first major race of the year. He felt it was encouraging to see youngsters coming through the sprinting ranks, as it could see the assembling of a strong 4x100m relay team that could break the South African record.
South African relay queen Sunette Viljoen made a solid start to her season, clinching her ninth national title with a distance of 61.87m.
The African record holder was satisfied with her performance considering she recently recovered from a niggling back injury.
Hammer throw king Chris Harmse continued his nearly two-decade-long domestic dominance of the event with a distance of 72.40m, his 18th consecutive title victory.
Kristiaan Bekker finished second with 63.77m and Renaldo Freschou third with a 63.01m throw.
The men’s 400m race saw the crowing of a new champion in 20-year-old Wayde van Niekerk. He beat a young field in 45.99 seconds. Close on his heels was Jacques de Swart in second at 46.36 seconds, while Ruan Greyling took bronze in a time of 46.74 seconds.
Van Niekerk began as a 100m and 200m specialist and the shift to the one-lap event had proven to be a good one.
Distance ace Stephen Mokoka successfully defended his 10,000m title late on Friday, clocking a time of 28:22.30 with Tsosane Kgosi taking second place in 28:51.54 and Nkhasi Namakoe finishing third in 29:16.49.
Mokoka, who took the lead early in the race and was never really threatened, felt he could have run a much faster time.
He would get another chance at the championships when he lined up in the 5000m race against defending champion Gladwin Mzazi, and Elroy Gelant.
“I am happy with the title but not the time. In the first three kilometres I knew it was going to be difficult running on my own,” Mokoka said. He expected a faster race in the 5000m as there would be a number of athletes willing to increase the pace.