Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks) set a new South African record this afternoon when she won the 100m-hurdles in 12.81s at the Resisprint International Meeting in Switzerland.
She was faster in the heats running 12.70s, but unfortunately, the wind from behind was 2.2m/s which means her time won’t be recognised officially. Earlier this month in Prague she ran 12.91s to improve on the 20-year-old record set by Corien Botha.
Steenkamp could have been forgiving if she slightly upset about the wind as during last year’s meeting she ran 12.92s which would have been a national record at the time but the wind prevented her from celebrating. Steenkamp was however far from despondent after her performance in this morning's heats.
“I will be honest I did surprise myself. I thought I could run 12.90s but my time was so much faster. It excited me, as I realised that a time of 12.80s could be on the cards in the final. In the three hours leading up to the final I was quite hyper but also highly motivated,” said the Tuks athlete.
“’Coach (Hennie Kriel) helped me to stay focussed and not allow myself to get carried away. His advice was that I should concentrate on doing the basics right. If I do, it will be a fast time again. I did so.
"My start was not too bad, but somehow I lost my rhythm that led to the athlete on my inside starting to catch up with me. I had to reprimand myself telling myself: ‘Riki you are careless’. I again accelerated; actually, I was surprised at how easy it felt doing so. It proved to me that the hard work I have been doing is starting to pay dividends. It is exciting to know I am race fit," said the Tuks athlete who is returning home for ten day tomorrow.
Her next race will be during the World Cup.
It is all speculative, but it is still interesting to note, that Steenkamp’s time of 12.81s would have been good enough for a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and she would have qualified for last year’s final at the World Championships in London.
“At the moment it feels to me like the sky is the limit,” said an elated Steenkamp.
Emile Erasmus (Tuks) nearly made history this afternoon winning the 100m in 10.02s. In the heats, he clocked 10.01s. In the history of South African athletics only Akani Simbine (9.89s), Wayde van Niekerk (9.94s), Thando Roto (9.95s), Henricho Bruintjies (9.97s) have run faster times.
**On Saturday at the Diamond League Meeting in Paris Simbine clocked his best time for the season when he ran 9.94s. He was fourth. It was undoubtedly one of the fastest 100m races for the season Ronnie Baker (USA) won running 9.88s, Jimmy Vicaut (France) was second in 9.91s and Su Bingtian (China) third also running 9.91s.
“For me it is progress. I started the season off with 10.01s, and now I am taking it down with each race. I am content with where I am right now because the plan is for August not now,” explained the Tuks athlete.