By Mark Etheridge
South African Commonwealth Games sprinter Ncincilili Titi has got his freshman year off to a speedy start in the United States.
The nuggety Butterworth (East Cape) athlete is in his first year of studies at South Carolina University and it was also the first time that he experienced the indoor racing sensation.
And the Stateside experience is reaping rewards already for Titi and he has raced his way to a personal best 21.16 seconds time in the 200m.
‘My first weekend’s racing was at Virginia Tech where I got 6.84 and 6.88 seconds in the 60-metres and then 21.58 in the 200m,’ 21-year-old Titi told Road to Rio 2016 on Monday.
‘I was left pretty disappointed after the weekend, down in the dumps! But then I got some opinions from people I trusted and picked myself up.’
The next weekend saw him back at Virginia Tech where he ran 21.32 for the 200 to win overall and a 6.81 personal record in the 60m where he came second overall.
At the weekend it was off to the New York Armory Invitational meeting (see picture above). ‘I made it to the semi-finals of the 60m in 6.85 and then in the 200m I had a PR 21.25 in the prelims and then another PR of 21.16 to win the finals,’ said an excited Titi.
In the final Titi was in lane five and, after a false start by Chidi Okezie outside of him, the South African powered off from the gun and was never headed.
He may have been the shortest in the field and also extremely short of experience at the banked indoor track but his blitzed start saw him with enough in the tank to hold off the field in only his second indoor meeting.
Certainly some low-flying from the youngster who is also a qualified pilot.
As commentators observed after his race, South Africa provided the Olympic 200m final with Anaso Jobodwana in London two years ago… is Titi going be joining him in Rio de Janeiro next year? Watch this space.
Click here to watch Titi in action at the weekend.