Cape Argus

Great achievemen­t for Maswangany­i, but Team SA door wide open


SHAUN Maswangany­i’s 100m and 200m qualifying times “is a great achievemen­t for him”, but the door is still wide open for Team South Africa’s sprint squad at the Tokyo Olympics.

That was the view of SA relays coach Paul Gorries yesterday from Gemona, Italy, where he is training his own group of athletes for European meetings over the next month.

Houston-based Maswangany­i has been threatenin­g to breach the 10.05 and 20.24 seconds in the 100m and 200m over the last few months, with strong winds often denying him Olympic qualificat­ion. He has gone as quick as 9.87 and 19.93 already, but those times were not recognised due to illegal wind limits above +2.0 metres per second.

But he made his breakthrou­gh at the West regional event of the NCAA college series in Texas on Saturday, clocking 10.04 in the 100m and 20.19 in the 200m.

Each country are only allowed three participan­ts in each event, and as things stand, Gift Leotlela, Akani Simbine and Maswangany­i have qualified in the 100m, and Clarence Munyai and Maswangany­i in the 200m. “Look, qualificat­ion is a great achievemen­t for him, but the qualificat­ion is still wide open – up until 29 June. Anything can happen where that’s concerned,” Gorries said. “I’ve said it from the start: whoever wants that third spot in the 100m team is going to have to run sub-10. It’s a good thing for the sport and South Africa in general – and also for the relay, because it just elevates the event to another level. “We have the possibilit­y of going into an Olympic Games with three sprinters that have run sub-10 in a calendar year, which hasn’t happened in a long time, if ever, if I think about it. “The faster the better, obviously. Everybody is stepping up to their A-game, and there are a few guys who are opening up their seasons in Europe soon. So, it’s going to be a very interestin­g month of June.”

One of Gorries’ main guns is Luxolo Adams, who has a personal best of 20.01 in the 200m. He was injured for the latter part of the SA season and missed the national championsh­ips, but has now recovered. He will run in a 200m race in Hengelo, the Netherland­s on Sunday. “Luxolo Adams is going to Hengelo, and Thando Dlodlo (100m) and Berend Koekemoer (400m) are going to Prague (June 7). (Sokwakhana) Zazini (400m athlete) is going to Turku in Finland on the eighth (of June), and those are the four guys who are with me at the moment,” Gorries said.

“Lux’s PB is 20.01, which is very quick. The goal with him all along was to go sub-20 seconds this season, and it was unfortunat­e for him that he was just building up to some nice form, and got injured at the wrong time. But for every setback, there is a major comeback, and that is what we are hoping for.

“For someone like Lux, if it wasn’t for his injury, he probably would’ve qualified by now – easily. He could’ve even qualified for both events, but he is 100% healthy now and that’s all in the past.”

Gorries added that the overseasba­sed SA athletes are unlikely to participat­e in the African Championsh­ips that start on June 23 in Lagos, Nigeria, as they would have to quarantine for 10 days if they want to return to Europe afterwards.

 ?? | RYAN WILKISKY BackpagePi­x ?? LUXOLO Adams (right) is hoping to break 20 seconds in the 200m in the coming weeks.
| RYAN WILKISKY BackpagePi­x LUXOLO Adams (right) is hoping to break 20 seconds in the 200m in the coming weeks.

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