JOHANNESBURG – Earning a reputation as a ‘hot’ track, Tuks could once again see some fast times in the sprint events at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria over the weekend.
While the championships will be missing some of the superstars like Akani Simbine and Clarence Munyai, it could still witness some top-class performances.
The men’s 100m may produce some fireworks with sub-10 second man Thando Roto making his return from injury while Emile Erasmus will be looking to continue his form from 2018.
Roto will be looking to rekindle his form from 2017 when he became only the fifth South African man to dip below 10 seconds in the 100m on the same Tuks track.
“I’ve been working hard, I’ve worked on improving my strength in the gym as well and keeping me healthy,” Roto said. “I don’t really have a time in mind, I am just really excited to be racing again. I am really excited to get on this fast track and see what I can do.”
Boasting a personal best of 9.95 seconds, Roto will have to get close to that time if he wants to feature at his second World Championships.
Athletics SA (ASA) has set a qualifying standard of 10.03 for the global showpiece.
The required time may seem tough but the Tuks athlete hopes to consistently dip well below that mark to make it to the world championships for a shot at the final.
“I have to be able to wake up and just go if you want to make finals you have to be able to go sub-10,” Roto said. “If you want to do something in the final you have to be able to go sub-10 on any given day and any given time.”
Erasmus is on a similar mission as he looks to become the sixth South African sprinter to break through the magical barrier.
The Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay silver medallist came painstakingly close to achieving that feat when he clocked a personal best of 10.01 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland last year.
“I know I am capable of dipping under 10 seconds. Whether it is going to be on Saturday remains to be seen,” Erasmus said.
“I have been clocking some fast times during training, but that does not mean anything as it is one thing to train and something else to race,” he added.
Promising female sprinter Tebogo Mamatu, who posted a new personal best of 11.27 in 2018, was looking for her breakthrough after a solid pre-season.
She will be lining up in the 100m over the weekend confident that she will edge closer to the sub-11 mark.
The championships will have some star quality infield with Olympic javelin throw silver medallist Sunette Viljoen competing in her specialist event.
She made a promising start to her 2019 campaign when she launched a 61.64m heave at a Gauteng North league meeting in January.