Zinzi Chabangu (UJ) set the first South African senior athletics record for the season when she won the women’s triple jump with a 14.02 metres effort during a league meeting at Tuks.
It is the first time that any South African athlete has gone past the 14 metres barrier. Chabangu’s winning jump is 13 centimetres further than the national record (13.89m) set by Patience Ntshingila in 2012. The UJ student’s previous best was 13.65m.
‘Absolutely shocked,’ was Chabangu’s reaction moments after her record attempt was announced. ‘Because it is an Olympic year, the goal is to go big, but I did not expect to do so ‘today’ (yesterday). It is the first time I competed this season. I only wanted to have fun and test myself as I have had some injury issues.
‘I did not have the best of starts. I overstepped with my first jump. The second one was the big one, but somehow then I lost the plot. I had a real adrenaline rush after the 14.02m jump. It led to me getting overeager. I so wanted another big jump. Unfortunately, I kept on overstepping.’
The current South African and USSA champion is confident of improving on her own record but realises the biggest mistake she could make as being obsessed to jump certain distances.
‘It is back to the basics. There definitely is some aspects of my technic I need to work on. Most importantly is that I should not forget to keep on having fun. If I do, the big jump will happen. It is only a matter of time.’
Chabangu is confident that can jump the 14.32m, which is the qualification standard for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Caster Semenya set a new personal best by winning the 200 metres in a time of 23.81sec. There are some rumours that she might try and qualify in the longer sprint for the Tokyo Games. To so, she needs to improve at least a second.
Clarence Munyai (Tuks-Nike) was impressive winning the 100 metres in 10.22s and the 200m in 20.35s. Afterwards, he made it clear that he is capable of running faster times.
‘As it is still early in the season, I am happy for now.’
Rikenette Steenkamp (Tuks-Puma) won the 100m-hurdles in a time of 13.19s. Sharona Bakker (Netherlands) finished second in a time 13.43s. It was the first time this season that Steenkamp competed in the 100m-hurdles. Last month she set a new South African indoors record running 8.17s in the 60m-hurdles.
Tuks’ Taylon Bieldt was impressive. During the morning she won the 400m-hurdles running 58.08s. In the afternoon she set a new personal best in the 400m winning in a time of 52.81s.
Over the previous seasons, Bieldt mainly focused on competing in the 100m-hurdles. Her best time is 13.35s. She has however decided that from now to compete in the longer hurdles event.
Photo: Zinzi Chabangu by Reg Caldercott