Cape Town – South African sprinters were in top shape on Wednesday evening, with Wayde van Niekerk and Clarence Munyai setting world best times in the 300m event at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Van Niekerk completed the race in 30.81 seconds, bettering the global mark of 30.85 seconds set by Michael Johnson in Pretoria in March 2000, as well as his own national best of 31.03 set in Kingston in June last year. He added the unofficial world best to his 400m world record of 43.03.
Former African 400m champion Isaac Makwala of Botswana finished second in 31.44 seconds, followed by junior star Munyai into third position in 31.61 seconds, setting a world and African best in the under-20 division.
“We congratulate Wayde and his coach (Ans Botha) for their great achievement,” said Athletics South Africa president, Aleck Skhosana.
“Clocking his second world best suggests he’s on his way to achieving greater things in the 200m and 400m at the IAAF World Championships in London, England in August. They must now work harder to eliminate any mistakes they may have picked up.
“We also congratulate Clarence Munyai and his coach (Hennie Kriel) for the outstanding performance. We now believe he is going to be a leading contender for the junior title at the upcoming CAA African Junior Championships in Tlemcen, Algeria.
“Praise must also go to the support personnel in both camps for the work they are doing behind the scenes.”
In other disciplines in Ostrava, Rikenette Steenkamp set a personal best of 12.99 to finish second in the women’s 100m hurdles race, which was won by Pamela Dutkiewicz of Germany in 12.72.
Steenkamp made history as the second SA woman to run under 13 seconds in her specialist event.
Alyssa Conley also took second place in the women’s 200m race in 23.03, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast earning a comfortable win in 22.44.
National record holder Antonio Alkana ended fourth in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.37, crossing the line 0.28 behind French winner Garfield Darien. Jacob Rozani was seventh in the men’s 1 000m battle in 2:20.25, with Kenyan Nicholas Kipkoech snatching victory in 2:18.51.
NOTE: The 300m distance is not recognised for official record purposes and fastest times are referred to as ‘bests’