Leotlela equals SA Record as Tuks win the Varsity Athletics title
Eighteen-year-old sprint sensation Tlotliso Gift Leotlela lived up to his billing as the top junior sprinter in South Africa when he achieved a record-equalling 10,12 s win in the men’s 100 m at the second and final Varsity Athletics meeting held under near perfect conditions at the University of Pretoria LC de Villiers Sports Grounds on Friday, 31 March.
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated match-up between Leotlela and training partner Thando Roto did not take place as Roto withdrew as a precautionary measure after experiencing some slight discomfort in training. However, that did not stop Leotlela from giving a fantastic performance.
Leotlela first broke Akani Simbine’s seven-year-old SA Record of 10,19 s when he clocked 10,12 s at the provincial championships a fortnight ago. On Friday, his technique was near perfect and he won by a margin of almost half a second over Keenan Michau – also from Tuks. Michau was ran in 10,56 s.
‘I was happy with all the phases of my race except the final 10 m,’ said Leotlela. ‘My season so far has been really good and I am looking forward to defending my title at the SA Junior Championships (7 and 8 April) in Cape Town.’
Earlier in the evening, Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks) achieved a 13,22 s win in the women’s 100 m hurdles. ‘My hamstring felt a bit stiff during the week so I didn’t push it as hard as I wanted to. But the sub-13 s is still my plan and I feel I am on track. It will come.’
Rival Maryke Brits (University of the Free State) pushed her to just beyond halfway, before the Tuks athlete pulled away. Brits was second 13,51 s.
Tuks was dominant in the sprints, including a convincing win by SA junior record holder Clarence Munyai in the men’s 200 m race with a time of 20,25 s.
‘I struggled in the last 50 m, but I haven’t trained since I ran the SA Record two weeks ago so I am happy,’ he said. Munyai ran 20,10 s on this very track at the Provincial Championships to break the 20,16 s record set by Riaan Dempers in 1995.
Munyai was pushed by the University of the Free State’s Heinrich Maartens in the bend, but as they came in to the home straight, Munyai proved to be too powerful. Maartens was second in 20,62 s.
The overall results were close, but Tuks claimed the title by just 525 points over North-West University.
1 Tuks 31 310
2 North-West University 30 785
3 University of Johannesburg 30 210
4 University of the Free State 30 079
5 Stellenbosch University 29 120
6 University of the Western Cape 28 524
7 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 27 745
8 Tshwane University of Technology 27 522
1 University of Cape Town 15 938
2 Vaal University of Technology 14 592
3 Central University of Technology 12 568
4 University of Limpopo 10 754
– Author Manfred Seidler