Esterhuizen smashes record
Bernard Esterhuizen (File)
Johannesburg - Olympic track cyclist Bernard Esterhuizen
smashed his own national record in the 200m sprint qualifying event at the UCI Track World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico over the weekend.
Making full use of the Mexican high altitude conditions he obliterated the old record by 0.448 seconds to record a masterful 9.786 seconds.
Esterhuizen became the first South African rider to break the magical 10-second barrier over 200m.
Spain's Juan Peralta Gascon was the fastest qualifier in a time of 9.633 seconds.
After qualifying in eighth position out of 49 starters, Esterhuizen had a tough ride in the first round narrowly losing to experienced Frenchman Michael D'Almeida, who qualified in ninth position.
Esterhuizen, however, won all three of his subsequent rides to win the B final and finish in ninth position overall.
Denis Dmitriev of Russia was the overall winner with Max Niederlag of Germany in second and Gascon rounding off the placings.
Esterhuizen also finished in 11th position in the Keirin event after progressing to the second round with ease.
These performances show the significant strides Esterhuizen had made since his 11th place in the sprint at the London 2012 Olympics.
He should now have qualified for the UCI World Track Championships to be held in Minsk, Belarus from February 20 to 24.
South Africa will be well represented in both the endurance and sprint disciplines as 2012 World Championships scratch-race silver medallist Nolan Hoffman has already qualified for the World Championships.