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African record holder Omanyala shines in South Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 7 – African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya did not disappoint, living up to the pre-competition hype by claiming victory in 10.11 seconds in the men’s 100 race m during the third leg of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix series.

“I am happy with my time and want to make it a tradition to come to South Africa every year. The organization was fantastic and the track magnificent. I wanted to race against my old rival Akani Simbine and I will race against him at Germiston next week,” said Omanyala.

He added: “I don’t look at competitors, but I believe Clearance Munyai, who finished second, can do better. I want to make Kenya proud by winning gold at the World Championships in the United States to show that I am the African record holder in the 100m.

In-form Clarence Munyai, best known for his 200m performances, showed another sprint to grab second place in 10.20, with Emile Erasmus finishing third in 10.29.

There were other strong results produced on the track and in the field events, with home stars having to work harder against a strong international contingent.

Former national champion Luxolo Adams was in fine form in the men’s 200m, taking the win in 20.28. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana took second in 20.45, while SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine settled for a surprise seventh in 21.08.

In the women’s 100m race, national record holder Carina Horn edged Phindile Kubheka by just 0.02 to take the win in 11.50.

Shirley Nekhubui won the women’s 200m, setting a personal best 23.19.

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After a superb performance at the start of the season, 20-year-old Prudence Sekgodiso circled the track to claim a convincing victory in the women’s 800m race. Sekgodiso clocked 2:01.89, crossing the line less than half a second outside his personal best 2:01.40 to win by more than three seconds, with Botswana’s Oratile Nowe taking second position in 2:05.34.

Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela won a hotly contested men’s 800m race in 1:46.40, beating Jabulane Ncamane (1:46.42) by just 0.02, with the top five athletes all dipping under 1:47.00 in general finish.

National champion Dalene Mpiti was impressive in the women’s 400m sprint, charging around the track to win in 51.73, snatching more than a second off her personal best. Miranda Coetzee was second in 52.59 and Christine Botlogetswe of Botswana third in 52.88.

In the men’s 400m race, Olympic bronze medalist in the 4x400m relay Bayapo Ndori of Botswana won in 44.88, with compatriot Leungo Scotch finishing second in 45.85, and local favorite Zakithi Nene settled for of third place in 45.98.

Over the rarely run 2,000m distance, three-time 800m world champion Caster Semenya produced a respectable result, taking a comfortable victory in 5:50.39.

However, she received no support in a solo effort, finishing 45 seconds ahead of her closest competitor, Welna Nkuna, who finished second in 6:35.49.

Delivering a stunning upset, Taylon Bieldt won the women’s 400m hurdles in a thrilling competition time of 55.80. Pre-race favorite Zeney van der Walt was second in 55.81 and experienced athlete Wenda Nel was third in 55.84.

Former world junior champion Sokwakhana Zazini had no trouble in the men’s 400m hurdles, taking a convincing victory in 49.84.

In the women’s javelin throw, 18-year-old McKayla van der Westhuizen set a personal best of 58.26m to win a fierce battle.

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Former U20 World Championships silver medalist Jo-Ane van Dyk landed the spear at 58.07m for second place, with Czech athlete Nikol Tabackova taking third (57.07m).

Two men cleared 20 meters in the shot put, with Olympic finalist Kyle Blignaut throwing a winning effort of 20.13m, just 10 centimeters clearer than Jason van Rooyen (20.03m).

Among highlights in other disciplines, Jovan van Vuuren won the men’s long jump with a leap of 8.12m and Finland’s Toni Keranen won the javelin throw with a lift of 79.38m.

Earlier in the pre-programme, African record holder Antonio Alkana won the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.58 and Marione Fourie clocked 13.22 to secure victory in the 100m hurdles feminine.

Long jump specialist Cheswill Johnson won the men’s 100m B in 10.41 and 18-year-old Brian Raats showed good form to clear 2.26m, winning the men’s high jump by 21 centimeters.