SA athletes are long-standing local and continental records
Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk (22) joined the growing list of high-flying South African track and field record holders when he chalked up a new African record over the 300m last Sunday. “The record was just a bonus and a blessing. I actually enjoy the 300m a lot,” he told City Press this week a few days after he clocked a new continental record and South African time of 31.63 at last weekend’s International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting.
The previous record of 31.74 in the 300m was set 29 years ago by the now late Ivorian sprinter Gabriel Tiacoh – while Morné Nagel set the 32.15 South African record in December 2006.
The Birmingham event was Van Niekerk’s first international meeting and he had recently completed his midyear exams.
“I’m actually happy that I passed all my subjects. Now I can compete with the weight [of exams] off my shoulders,” said the University of the Free State student, who is studying towards a BA in marketing.
Van Niekerk now holds two national records, having also smashed the 15-year-old SA 400m record exactly a year ago.
The lanky sprinter has etched his name in the country’s athletics annals alongside Anaso Jobodwana, Stephen Mokoka, LJ van Zyl, Willem Coertzen, Annemie Smith and Lebogang Shange (
Jobodwana lowered the SA 200m time to 20.04 – only two weeks after breaking Nagel’s 13-year record of 20.11 last month.
His feat came a few days after decathlete Coertzen made an amazing comeback from injury at the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge in Austria.
Coertzen bettered his own national record and claimed 8 398 points after he notched up personal bests in the 1 500m (4:22.22), shot put (14.14m) and discus throw (44.84m).
A decathlon consists of 10 track and field events and performance is judged on a points system in each event, not by the individual positions achieved.