Magakwe fastest in SA
Adnaan Mohamed - Son
Cape Town - He turned up at Saturday’s Yellow Pages South African Athletics championships in Stellenbosch with his clothes in a Shoprite Checkers carrier bag.
Former South African 800m champion, Hezekiel Sepeng, gave the unknown athlete from Central North West a pair of his spikes. Today Simon Magakwe can boast to be the fastest man in South Africa.
The 22-year-old athlete not only won the 100 metres in an IAAF 'A' qualifying standard of 10.21 seconds, but had to prove himself twice before the gold medal was officially his. His performance was good enough to book him a ticket to represent South Africa at the World Athletic Championships which take place in Berlin, Germany in August.
What makes the newly crowned sprinters' performance even more significant is that it was his second attempt at winning the 100m title on the same day.
Magakwe thought that he had won the gold medal when he crossed the line in a career best time of 10.32 seconds only to learn that, because of a false start by one of the athletes, the race was going to be re-run.
This did not deter him at all. He proved his superiority over the field when he blitzed to his winning time of 10.21 in the re-run beating Free State's Thuso Mpuang (10.27) into second place. Mpuang’s time equalled the 'B' qualifying standard. Free State’s promising young runner, Kagiso Kumbane finished in third in 10.32.
According to Magakwe’s manager, Isaac Skweyiya, his charge has never even been to a gymnasium. To top it all he has also never received professional coaching as a sprinter.
“Simon has unbelievable raw talent. This is the fastest time ever to be run by a young South African athlete. Nobody expected this from him,” said a proud Skweyiya.
“I am now going to leave it up to Athletics South Africa to assist Simon in getting the best possible coaching. He has tremendous potential. I am sure he can become the first SA athlete to run the 100m in under 10 seconds," he added.