Athletics South Africa (ASA) hosted a successful first day of the South African Championships (SA-CHAMPS) meeting which exceeded all expectations. This was done through gunning the support of athletes by the management and a successful marketing campaign, which ensured that the venue was packed to capacity on the first day of the two day event.
ASA President Aleck Skhosana attributed the success of the event to the explosion of local talent, recognising the importance of sprinting to the whole event saying; “Our African Athletes have exploded beyond our (ASA) expectations and the whole world has turned their attention towards South African Athletes.”
One of the biggest achievements from ASA is the fact that they managed to get the athletes to buy into the programme and the event. The President said: “It was anticipated that ASA would send some of the top sprinters to the world relay championships, we surprised everyone by not sending any of our athletes to the event. We therefore created an opportunity for every athlete to come and participate so that we could have the best of the best present at these SA Champs.”
The South African athletes had taken it upon themselves, to promote the championship meeting which lead to the MC Arthur stadium being packed to capacity. The likes of Usain Bolt felt the wave of excitement tweeting that he would be watching the event and keeping an eye on the event.
The fans who attended the event were treated to the most competitive 100m race in the history of South African athletics, as within the starting line-up of the race there were 4 of 8 sprinters who had clocked sub 10 before the event. There was also drama in the final when Anasa Jobodwana dropped out of the race due to cramping. The race also saw the return of the Simon Magakwe first man to ever run sub 10 in the history of South African sprinting.
However Akani Simbine stole the show winning the race, beating the likes of Wayde Van Niekerk with a time of 9.95s. Akani said on the race “Literally from the heats I just told to myself to take it easy which led to me running 10.07. I went to the semi-final knowing that the weather conditions would be hotter than in the final and I obtained sub 9.96 in the semi. From there on then I knew that if I ran a sub 10 in the semi- final I would actually win the race.”
Wayde Van Niekerk came second in the final had this to say; “There has been an improvement in my running from the speed series event a few weeks ago until now. I am excited and stoked see what’s ahead of me in Europe and I think that is where we need to put the big shows. Wayde then set the challenge for the 200m race “Today I was a bit of Akani fan, I was so excited to see what he had for us today, but tomorrow I’ll have to take one back in the 200m.”
Grit Sports will be publishing the complete set of results on Sunday 23 April 2016.