Carina Horn has over the past weekend twice in three days set a new South African indoor record over 60 metres in France. Does it mean that at long last she will become the first local female sprinter to dip under 11 seconds?
Only one person knows the answer to this question and she is not telling apart from casually mentioning as to what happened in 2015.
“That year when I competed indoors I raced to a best time of 7.19s. Later that season I equaled Evette de Klerk’s South African record of 11.06s over the 100 metres. I can honestly say am excited about the times I ran over the past weekend. I know what my performances of 7.10s and 7.09s over 60 metres can equate to in the 100 metres. It can be a real fast time. Maybe close to …, but at this stage, I don’t want to speculate about what might be. I will let my legs do the talking then I will comment,” said the Tuks athlete.
Horn who returned to South Africa this morning to recuperate a bit and restrategise with her Austrian coach, Rainer Schopf, about what she needs to do before she returns to Europe for her final preparation for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham (2 to 4 March).
“I did not have the best of starts in the final at the Val d'Oise Meeting Eaubonne, France which meant after the first few metres I was in the last place. That is definitely not where you want to be in a 60 metre sprint as there are not really enough metres left to rectify your mistake. Luckily I had quite a strong finish. The only reason why I lost out was because I got dipped on the line. I also got dipped on Sunday in Metz when I ran 7.09s.”
Horn has certainly come a long way from being an ‘underdog’ in South African athletics. In 2009 the then 19-year-old Horn’s performance of 11.81s in the 100 metre final at the South African Championships was hardly noticed. There were, in fact, cynics who predicted that she did not have what it takes to become a top sprinter.
But what they did not take into account was the Tuks athlete’s hunger to succeed. The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the word ‘dedication’, namely “the willingness to give a lot of time and energy to something because it is important” summarizes Horn’s attitude to the tee. She was never going to quit until she has achieved the goals she had set herself.
Horn credits Schopf as the architect that lead her to be a South African record holder over 60 metres as well as the 100 metres.
“Rainer approached me when I was, at best, merely an average athlete. I guess he saw something in me of which I was not even aware at that stage. What excited me was that he shared my dream to become one of the best sprinters from the start.”