Munyai targets another SA junior record
Clarence Munyai (TuksSport High School) is certainly starting to master the art of improving South African junior records.
Yesterday at a league meeting at the TuksAthletics Stadium he improved one of the oldest South African junior records (under-20) when he ran a time of 20.10s in the 200 metres. His time was 0.06 faster than the 20.16s record set by Riaan Dempers in 1995 in Germiston.
Earlier this season Munyai won a race over 300 metres in 32.87s thus becoming the first South African junior athlete to dip under 33 seconds.
Yesterday Munyai also came close to improving on Akani Simbine (TuksAthletics) South African junior record in the 100 metres. He ran a personal best time of 10.20s which is only 0.01 slower than Simbine’s time of 10.19s.
Munyai is not one to look for excuses but after Saturday’s 100 metres there was a moment or two in which he could not help wondering what would have happened if he did not slightly stumble when he took his second step in the race.
For the Grade 12-learner it is a case of two down and one to go.
“I really am going to gun for the 100 metres record. It would be special if I can hold all three junior records (100, 200 and 300) at the same time.”
However, it is not a foregone conclusion that Munyai may be the one that might have what it takes to improve the 100 metre record as his training partner and friend, Gift Leotlela (TuksAthletics), has got the same goal.
Leotlela will be competing in his first 100 metre race this season on Wednesday in Bloemfontein. If the weather plays along he might just beat Munyai to the record. Last year Leotlela was consistently clocking times of 10.20s.
“I won’t mind if Gift gets to break the record before I do. In fact I have already wished him well for Wednesday’s race.”
Munyai impressed on Saturday with the way he raced besides Akani Simbine (TuksAthletics) in the 100 metres and 200 metres races. In the 200 metres he led up to the last 50 metres leaving Simbine to dig deep to win. Which might have helped the older athlete to dip under 20 seconds for the first time.
Simbine was afterwards full of praise for Munyai’s gutsy performance.
“I don’t see Clarence as a youngster anymore. When Clarence lines up next to me I see him as a competitor. The same as I see Usain Bolt or Justin Gatlin or any of the other top athletes. Clarence is part of us as far as I am concerned.”
Munyai views this as a huge compliment and it certainly serves as extra motivation. His next goal is try and become the only second junior athlete to dip under 20 seconds in the 200 metres. The legendary Usain Bolt ran a time of 19.93s in 2004. Munyai’s time of 20.10s ranks him fifth in the IAAF all-time junior list.
Munyai’s next 200 metre race will be on 15 March 2017 in Potchefstroom. Simbine might also be racing. It won’t be a surprise if both of them duel it out to another seal another fast time.