It was supposed to be a duel between SA record holder Clarence Munyai and defending champion Luxolo Adams, but they were outshone by Sinesipho Dambile at the South African Champs.
CAPE TOWN – Youngster Sinesipho Dambile caused a major upset at the South African Championships on Saturday by beating both Clarence Munyai and Luxolo Adams to clinch the men’s 200m title.
The 20-year-old Dambile claimed a bronze medal at the world juniors in Nairobi last year, but would have been considered an outside for the gold at the Green Point Stadium.
It was supposed to be a duel between SA record-holder Munyai and defending champion Adams for the victory, but they were outdone by Dambile on a windy Cape evening.
Munyai, as usual, went out fast and was in the lead at the bend, with Adams strangely well off the pace. But 18-year-old Benjamin Richardson first challenged Munyai, and then over the last 30 metres, Dambile roared to the front to win in a time of 20.55 seconds – which was not a bad time into a headwind of -1.7 metres per second.
Munyai, who ran 20.03 on Friday, had to be satisfied with the silver in 20.63, with Richardson third in 20.83 – with Adams fifth in 21.14.
In the women’s 200m final, teenager Banele Shabangu came out of nowhere in the final straight to claim her first senior title in a time of 23.93.
The 19-year-old looked to be on course for a bronze after the first half of the race, as it was Tamzin Thomas leading from the front, followed by Shirley Nekhubui.
But Shabangu, who was the SA junior champion in the 100m and 200m previously, timed her burst of speed at just the right time into the headwind to outlast Thomas (24.02) and Miranda Coetzee (24.08), with Nekhubui fourth (24.35).
🥇 𝟐𝟎 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐥𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲 🤯
Sinesipho Dambile produces a season-best time of 20.55 to win the men’s 200m final ahead of Clarence Munyai (20.63) and Luxolo Adams (21.14) at the #ASANationalChampionships pic.twitter.com/1kyCH9PkTp
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) April 23, 2022
Olympian Sokwakhana Zazini proved that he is the man to beat in the 400m hurdles for men.
After Leroux Hamman sped out of the blocks, former junior world champion Zazini quickly flexed his muscles to charge into the lead on the back straight, and then he was on his own in chasing a world championship qualifying time of 48.90 seconds.
It wasn’t quite possible in the windy arena, but it was still a sub-50 winning time of 49.84 that saw Zazini claim his first senior title.
Hamman had to settle for silver in 51.09, with Johannes Pretorius grabbing the bronze in 51.83.
In the women’s 400m hurdles final, Taylon Bieldt stormed to the front in the first 200m, but faded on the home straight as ex-junior world champion Zeney van der Walt showed the required stamina to snatch the title in a time of 55.75.
Nine-time former champion Wenda Nel – running in her last national championships as she will retire at the end of the season – made a slow start, but caught up with Bieldt towards the end to take the silver in 56.08, with Bieldt third in 56.78.
The 400m men’s final also lived up to the expectations.
Boland’s Gardeo Isaacs took charge out of the blocks and led for most of the opening 200 metres, but then Zakithi Nene showed his class to power ahead going into the final bend, and he kept going to the finish line to win in a time of 45.51.
Tumisang Shezi grabbed the silver medal in 46.00, while Isaacs had to settle for bronze in 46.22.
In the women’s 400m final, youngster Precious Molepo went out hard to try and cause an upset by creating a sizable lead over the first 200 metres.
But favourite Deline Mpiti kept her fire until the home straight, and put in the big strides to hold off her challenger and win in 52.82 seconds in windy conditions.
Molepo finished second in 53.24, while Marlie Viljoen made it a podium clean-sweep for Gauteng North in third with 54.32.
Two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya – who finished second in the 5 000m final on Friday – made a surprise appearance in the women’s 10 000m final, and she sped to the front from the start to help with the pace-making.
Along with her close friend Glenrose Xaba, they opened up a big gap over the rest of the field on the opening lap, and took turns to run at the front. It seemed to be in blocks of four minutes, and Semenya went all the way to just under 20 minutes before leaving Xaba to do her thing, and she took gold in a new personal best of 32:31.49.
In the men’s 5 000m, Precious Mashele held off his Central Gauteng teammate Maxime Chaumeton to win in a time of 13:39.92, with Chaumeton second in 13:42.56.
The last two track races were the men’s and women’s 800m, which were won by Tshepo Tshite (1:49.18) and Prudence Sekgodiso (2:03.31) respectively.
In the field events, there were gold medals for Ischke Senekal (women’s shot put, 16.23m), Jo-Ane van Dyk (women’s javelin, 58.30m), Jovan van Vuuren (men’s long jump, 8.02m), Valco van Wyk (men’s pole vault, 5.00m) and Alan Cumming (men’s hammer throw, 70.74m).