#TuksAthletics: Munyai to race against Indoor world champion in Manchester

Posted on May 20, 2016

On Friday, 20 May 2016, Clarence Munyai (TuksSport High School) will live his dream when he races against Trayon Bromell (USA) in the 150-metre sprint at the Great City Games in Manchester.

Bromell, who is 21 years old, burst onto the senior scene in 2015 with a third-place finish in the 100 m event at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. With a time of 9,92 s, he was behind Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.  His time of 9,84 s, which he achieved in the USA team trials, made him the joint tenth-fastest man in history.

In 2014, when Bromell ran it in 9,97 s at the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he became the first junior to break the ten-second barrier. Bromell got off to a flying start earlier this season when he won the 60 m in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon.

'As far as I am concerned, Trayon has the ability to become the next big star in international sprinting. He is definitely a role-model for me and it still seems unreal that I will be racing against him. I hope it will be an awesome race,' said 18-year-old Munayi, who has shown signs that he could develop into a world-class sprinter himself.

Under the guidance of Hennie Kriel (coach at Tuks/hpc), he has won both the South African junior and senior titles in the 200 m event. He has qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio by running it in 20,36 s on two occasions. He has also improved his best time in the 100 metres to 10,28 s.

In spite of Munayi's success, Kriel is realistic about the challenges that await them. 'A study of the IAAF's list of the all-time fastest junior sprinters (under-20) does not make for inspiring reading. Most of the athletes never had any impact as senior sprinters. They disappeared from the scene without ever fulfilling their potential. Our main challenge at the moment is to give Clarence the necessary guidance and support to help him bridge the gap between excelling at junior level and being equally successful at senior level,' he said.

Kriel's advice for Munayi for Friday's big race is to enjoy the moment and to learn as much as he can from racing against the best.

Munyai said he is grateful that his coach had the vision to let him run against senior athletes this season. 'It has toughened me up mentally. I am no longer intimidated when I compete against older athletes because I now realise that they are human and have the same anxieties and expectations that I have as a youngster. I know I cannot beat Trayon or athletes like Kim Collins but that does not mean that I am not going to race flat-out. It will be strange running the 150 m.'

Thando Roto (Tuks/hpc) finished in joint-first place in the 100 m (10,41 s) at a meeting in Rehlingen, Germany earlier this week. Lesotho's Mosito Lehata also ran in 10,41 s. Gift Leotlela (TuksSport High School) came third in 10,48 s.

According to Kriel, the athletes had to contend with cold and windy conditions.


- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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