Tlotliso Gift Leotlela, the 18-year-old sprint sensation, lived up to his billing as the top Junior Sprinter in South Africa when he scorched to a record-equaling 10.12sec win in the men’s 100m at the second and final Varsity Athletics meet held under near perfect conditions at the University of Pretoria Grounds on Friday 31 March.
The big expected match-up between Leotlela and training partner Thando Roto unfortunately did not take place as Roto withdrew as a precautionary measure after experiencing a slight niggle in training. That though did not stop Leotlela from screaming away from the field at the Varsity Athletics meeting to equal his SA Junior Record of 10.12sec.
Leotlela first broke the 7-year-old SA Record of Akani Simbine of 10.19sec when he clocked 10.12sec at the provincial championships a fortnight ago. On Friday his technique was near perfect as he blitzed the field to win by a margin of almost half a second over Keenan Michau -also from Tuks. Michau was timed at 10.56sec.
“I was happy with all the phases of my race except the final 10m,” said Leotlela. “My season so far has been really good and I’m looking forward to the SA Junior Championships (7/8 April) in Cape Town to defend my title.”
Earlier in the evening, Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks) romped home to a 13.22sec win in the women’s 100m hurdles. “My hamstring felt a bit stiff in the week, so I didn’t push it as hard as I wanted to. But the sub-13 is still my plan and I feel I’m on track. It will come.”
Rival Maryke Brits (Kovsies) pushed her to just beyond halfway, before the Tuks athlete pulled away. Brits was second 13.51sec.
Tuks was dominant in the sprints as SA Junior Record Holder in the 200m, Clarence Munyai convincingly won the men’s 200m race with a time of 20.25sec.
“I struggled in the last 50m. But I haven’t trained since I ran the SA Record two weeks ago. So I’m happy.” Munyai ran 20.10sec on this very track at the Provincial Championships to break the 20.16sec record of Riaan Dempers set in 1995.
Munyai was pushed by Kovsies’ Heinrich Maartens in the bend, but as they came in to the home straight, Munyai proved to be too powerful. Maartens was second in 20.62sec.
It was a tight overall finish, but Tuks claimed the title by just 525 points, pipping Pukke.
1 Tuks 31 310
2 Pukke 30 785
3UJ 30 210
4 Kovsies 30 079
5 Maties 29 120
6 UWC 28 524
7 Madibaz 27 745
8 TUT 27 522
1 UCT 15 938
2 VUT 14 592
3 CUT 12 568
4 UL 10 754
By Manfred Seidler