Varsity Athletics fastest sprinter for the moment, Shaahid Motala (Tuks), had to withdraw from Friday’s second meeting in Potchefstroom due to a slight hamstring injury.
He caused quite a stir during the first Varsity Meeting in Stellenbosch when he won the 100 metres in 10.03s. Statistically, it meant that he was one of the seven fastest sprinters in South African athletics history.
Unfortunately, there were problems with timekeeping. The electronic timing system was not working which led to the 100 metres being hand timed. So the time of 10.03s is not official.
Many an athlete might have felt despondent, even done in, but not Motala. The Tuks sprinter’s reasoning being that there is nothing he can do to change anything.
“I did not go to Stellenbosch with the ambition of running 10.03s. The only thing that mattered was to run to the best of my ability, aiming to win. Crossing the line seeing a time of 10.03s left me emotionally numbed. I don’t remember anything about the race. It felt like it was all over in the blink of an eye. I was hoping to be fast especially since two weeks before I set a personal best time of 10.34s.”
Motala emphasised not feeling pressurised to prove to anyone that he is a sprinter capable of running fast times.
“My breakthrough race will happen when it is meant to happen. I won’t lie the challenge will be to see how close I can get to running 10.03s, but it might take a while to do so.
“What I love about sprinting is the adrenaline rush you get in that few seconds on the track. There is nothing that comes close to it. It is you against the stopwatch trying to see if it is possible to cross the finish line in a quicker time each time.
“Sprinting also comes with discipline which is exciting because it tends to benefit you in other aspects of life like your studies,” explains Motala who is a second-year industrial engineering student.
Frans van Rooyen (coach) describes Motala as a process in the making.
“There are still quite a few aspects in his technique we need to work on, but he is definitely getting faster. Last year when I started coaching him his best time was 10.64s. I am confident that he will get to run faster than 10.34s this season.
“The primary goal is to help him qualify for the World Student Games in Italy which I think is doable. If he is able to get close to 10.20s at the Games, there is a real chance he could qualify for the final and even medal.
“Another goal would be to see if he can qualify for the 100-metre final at the South African Senior Championships. If he does, it will be quite an achievement considering the calibre of athletes he will be up against.”
By Wilhelm de Swardt