It is said that lightning does not strike the same place twice, but 17-year-old TuksSport High School learner Viwe Jingqi might have proved it does when she set a new South African Youth record over 200 metres when she won in 23.03s on Saturday 2 April, exactly 40 years after the record was broken by Evette de Klerk who ran 23.30s to set a South African youth record (under-18) in the 200 metres on 2 April 1982.
Jingqi, who is coached by Paul Gorries, set the new record during the South African Junior and Youth Athletics Championships in Potchefstroom and is currently the fastest under-18 female athlete over 100 metres and 200 metres in the world. On Thursday, during the same Championships, she won the 100 metres in 11.22s.
Interestingly, since 2012, Justine Palframan (22.83s) and Alyssa Conley (22.84s) are the only South African senior female sprinters who have run faster times. It is the same for the 100 metres. Carina Horn (10.98s) and Tebogo Mamathu (11.04s) are the only two local 100-metre sprinters who have been faster than Jingqi since 2012.
The Tuks sprinter seems intent on "renewing old records". In February, during the Twizza Super Schools Meeting in Ruimsig, she ran 11.47s. It was the fastest time by a South African under-18 athlete in 38 years and four months. The previous record was held by Mari-Lise Furstenburg, who ran 11.56s in November 1983.
TuksSport High School sprinter Viwe Jingqi set a new South African Youth record over 200 metres when she won in 23.03s on Saturday 2 April.
The time of 11.22s she ran on Thursday is also a new South African junior 100-metre record (under-20). Marcel Winkler ran 11.25s in 1989. It will be interesting to see if she can also improve on Evette de Klerk's 200-metre junior record. In 1984 De Klerk clocked 22.76s.
The well-known South African athletics statistician, Danie Cornelius, is confident that Jingqi will dip under 23 seconds in the 200 metres this season.
"The one thing that can't be coached is big match temperament. Jingqi has got it. She proved it last year during the World Junior Championships in Nairobi when she finished third in the 200 metres semifinals being only 16.
"I sort of felt sorry for her when she lined up to compete. She looked so small and vulnerable compared to the international athletes. But the moment the starter's pistol was fired, she became a 'giant'. She was not intimidated. All that mattered to her was to be fast.
"During the national championships in Potch, it was the same. Jingqi still has no physical traits distinguishing her from any other athlete. Only when she races will people realise that she is the real deal.
"Yesterday (Saturday 2 April), the conditions were far from perfect. It rained most of the morning. The track was heavy and slow, but it did not faze Jingqi. She ran brilliantly. She was ahead, coming out of the curve and then got even faster. I have no doubt that on a warm day and a dry track that she will come close to running 22.60s."