By Mark Etheridge
South African athletes were in the spotlight again in the northern hemisphere summer on Thursday night at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland.
Despite it being summer, conditions weren’t ideal for sprinting on a cool evening.
But there were still wins for 100-metre duo Henricho Bruintjies and Carina Horn, while 110m hurdler Antonio Alkana finally nailed down a qualifying time (and season’s best) for the IAAF World Championships in China later this year.
Bruintjies (pictured with Horn at last night’s meeting) ran his second fastest 100m yet, taking the victory with a time of 10.09sec from fellow African, Mosito Lehata of Lesotho (10.11). It was also a meeting record, eclipsing Namibian Frankie Fredericks’ 11.11 run 18 years ago.
Austrian-based Horn ran a personal best 11.16 to take the win the women’s 100m, comfortably clear of Ivory Coast’s Marie Josée Ta Lou (11.24).
‘It was cold… 15 degrees Celsius, for my race with rain on and off, and I couldn’t get warm in the warm-up,’ said Horn. ‘So I just concentrated on getting my mindset right and just went for the win. When I crossed the finish line and looked back to see my time I saw I had equalled it but it was later rounded down so means a new personal best for me.
‘The wind was also legal (1.1m/sec) so I’m very, very happy. Now I’m looking forward to warmer weather and improving my time even more.’
Alkana ended third in his race, behind the Cuban duo of Yordan O’Farrill (13.29) and Dayton Robles (13.32 ).
In the only South African in middle distance action, Jerry Motsau ran 3:39.15 for a season’s best which gave him third spot behind Kenyans Elijah Manangoi (3:36.81) and Hilary Maiyo (3:38.75).
Field events saw a first and second spot for Khotso Mokoena and Zarck Visser although neither was able to break the 8m barrier as they leap to bests of 7.91 and 7.72m on the night. Both their best efforts came with their second jumps.