SA’s best sprinters in Bahamas conundrum

SA’s best sprinters in Bahamas conundrum

SA’s best sprinters in Bahamas conundrum – It could be a classic scenario of all dressed up and no one to go for South Africa when the IAAF World Relays take place in the Bahamas.

The dates of the World Relays (22nd-23rd April) overlap with that of the South African Championships which take place in Potchefstroom from the 21st-22nd April.

Most athletes prefer to race at the national championships. Some don’t have a choice as their sponsors give big incentive bonuses for a good result at the national championships.

Werner Prinsloo, who has been appointed to coach the men’s 4x100m relay-team and currently coaching Akani Simbine (SA record holder), said that this sad state of affairs could have been prevented by the decision makers of Athletics South Africa (ASA) if they moved the dates of the national championships.

The date of the IAAF World Relays was known well before the dates for the SA Championships had been announced. Therefore the decision to let the dates of the two championships overlap is foolhardy.

Prinsloo is of the opinion that the national championships should have been held in March.

As things stand at the moment Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies (TuksAthletics) won’t represent South Africa at the World Relays.

Simbine and Bruintjies were part of the 4x100m-relay team who ran a time of 38.47 seconds at the ASA Speed Series-meeting in Germiston on Wednesday night. The performance, 0.12s outside the national mark, is tied second on the all-time SA rankings in the event.

Prinsloo said he has informed ASA well in advance of Simbine’s predicament concerning his participation at the World Relays.

The Tuks-athlete will open his international campaign competing at the Doha Diamond League Meeting on 6 May. He really wants to do well and not be fatigued when settling down in his starting blocks.”

Ironically, last year when Simbine really wanted to represent South Africa in the 200 metres at the Olympic Games in Rio he was snubbed by the decision makers in spite of having qualified.

Bruintjies’s (TuksAthletics) dilemma is that there are big incentive bonuses on offer for him at the national championships.

Hennie Kriel, who coaches the two young South African record holders, Clarence Munyai (SA junior 200m – 20.10s) and Gift Leotlela (SA junior 100m – 10.12s), has indicated that his athletes are available to represent South Africa at the World Relays. They were part of the team that ran 38.47s in Germiston.

Thando Roto (TuksAthletics), who last weekend became the fifth local sprinter to dip under 10 seconds when he raced to a time of 9.95s, is also not available to compete at the World Relays.

“Thando was not initially included in the national relay squad and now that he has ran a sub-ten second race his focus is on building his athletics career. He still has no sponsor apart from Tuks so a good result at the national championships is of the utmost importance to him,” explained Kriel.