Maswanganyi qualifies for Tokyo Games
HE was denied by strong tail-winds previously, but now South African Shaun Maswanganyi can finally pack his bags for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 20-year-old from Soweto, who is based at the University of Houston (UH) in Texas, qualified for Japan on Saturday in the 100 and 200m events.
Racing for the UH Cougars at the NCAA Preliminary West Round in Texas, Maswanganyi set new personal bests of 10.04 and 20.19 seconds in the 100 and 200m respectively, beating his previous marks of 10.06 and 20.31.
The Olympic qualifying times are 10.05 and 20.24sec, and while Maswanganyi had beaten both times before, the wind readings were illegal.
The former St Alban’s College, Pretoria, schoolboy had run 9.87 and 19.93sec recently, but needed the races to be run within the legal wind limit of +2.0 metres per second (m/s) in order to qualify for Tokyo.
That happened on Saturday when the wind reading for the 100m was 0.0m/s and +0.3m/s in the 200m.
The 20.19sec time is the 13th fastest in the world in 2021, with American Terrance Laird leading with 19.81.
The performances would have provided even greater relief for Maswanganyi on Saturday, as he had clocked 10.05sec in a 100m heat on Wednesday – matching the Olympic qualifying time – but with a tailwind of +2.8m/s.
His legal time of 10.04sec means that he joins Gift Leotlela (9.94sec) and Akani Simbine (9.99sec) as 100m Olympics qualifiers for Team South Africa.
The 20.19 200m time is also the quickest legal time by a South African since 2019, when national record-holder Clarence Munyai ran 20.04. Munyai’s fastest time last year was 20.23, which ensured his passage to Tokyo.
Each country is allowed three entrants in each athletics event, so as things stand, that will be Leotlela, Simbine and Maswanganyi in the 100m, and Munyai and Maswanganyi in the 200m.