Munyai has his sights set on another SA junior record

Posted on March 06, 2017


Clarence Munyai (TuksSport High School) is beginning to master the art of beating South African junior records.

At a league meeting at the TuksAthletics Stadium on Sunday, 5 March 2017 he beat one of the oldest South African junior records (under-20) when he ran a time of 20,1 s in the 200 metres. His time was 0,06 s faster than the record set by Riaan Dempers in 1995 in Germiston.

Earlier this season, Munyai won 300 metres race in 32,87 s, thus becoming the first South African junior athlete to dip under 33 seconds.

On Sunday, Munyai also came close to improving on Akani Simbine's (TuksAthletics) South African junior record in the 100 metres. He ran a personal best time of 10,2 s, only 0,01 s slower than Simbine's time of 10,19 s.

Munyai is not one for making excuses, but after Saturday's 100 metres there was a moment during which he could not help wondering what would have happened if he did not slightly stumble when he took his second step in the race.

For the Grade 12 learner, it is a case of two down and one to go. 'I am going to try and beat the 100 metres record. It would be special if I could hold all three junior records (100 m, 200 m and 300 m) at the same time,' he said.

However, Munyai may not be the only one who has what it takes to beat the 100 m record, as his training partner and friend, Gift Leotlela (TuksAthletics), has the same goal.

Leotlela will be competing in his first 100 m race on Wednesday, 8 March in Bloemfontein. If the weather plays along, he might just beat Munyai to the record. Last year Leotlela was consistently clocking times of 10,2 s.

'I won't mind if Gift gets to break the record before I do. In fact, I have already wished him well for Wednesday's race,' said Munyai.

Munyai impressed on Saturday with the way he raced beside Akani Simbine (TuksAthletics) in the 100 m and 200 m races. In the 200 m, he led up to the last 50 m, which might have helped the Simbine to dip under 20 seconds for the first time.

After the race, Simbine was full of praise for Munyai's gutsy performance. 'I don't see Clarence as a youngster anymore. When he lines up next to me I see him as a competitor in the same way that I see Usain Bolt or Justin Gatlin or any of the other top athletes. Clarence is one of us, as far as I am concerned,' he said.

Munyai views this as a huge compliment and it certainly serves as extra motivation. His next goal is try and become the second junior athlete to dip under 20 seconds in the 200 m. The legendary Usain Bolt ran a time of 19,93 s in 2004. Munyai's time of 20,1 s ranks him fifth in the IAAF all-time junior list.

Munyai's next 200 m race will be on 15 March 2017 in Potchefstroom. Simbine might also be racing. It won't be a surprise if they duel it out to seal another fast time.



- Author Wilhelm de Swardt

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