Clarence Munyai raring to bag long sprint title
Clarence Munyai's smile still has boyish charm, but his body is bigger and he wants to prove he's grown up on the track this season.
Munyai's 2018 season went pear-shaped with injury after he scorched the Tuks track in a 19.69sec SA 200m record at the national championships in the semifinals. He pulled out of the final.
Now he's looking to reclaim the 200m title he won three years ago at the 2016 edition in Germiston from Thursday to Saturday.
Wayde van Niekerk's participation had yet to be confirmed earlier this week, but even if he doesn't make it, this year's showpiece is promising plenty of action.
Thapelo Phora is threatening to break 45 seconds in the 400m, and Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai and Zarck Visser are likely to perform well in the long jump.
Wenda Nel will be wary of double age-group world champion Zeney van der Walt, who nearly pipped her in the 400m hurdles last year.
The men's 200m could be the sprint of the competition, featuring some of the nation's top names, like Akani Simbine, who will pick up his favourite 100m only later in the season.
FOCUS ON 200mUS-based Anaso Jobodwana, the 2015 world championship bronze medallist, and defending champion Luxolo Adams will also be there."I'm focusing on the 200m at nationals, I would like to win back my title," Munyai told the Sunday Times after training this week.His coach, Hennie Kriel, wants him to do only the 200m at the world championships in Doha from September 28 to October 6.Munyai, already eyeing a 200m medal there, wants to do the shorter race too."I did make a deal with my coach, if I run quicker than 9.92 then at world champs I can do both events," said Munyai, who is scheduled to race his first 100m of the season at the World Challenge meet in Nanjing next month,Munyai, with a 100m best of 10.10, is ultimately aiming at Simbine's 9.89 national record. "I'd like to hold those records at the same time, that'd be really nice."His training partner, 2017 World Student Games 100m silver medallist Thando Roto, was in buoyant mood as he clowned around on the track with reigning SA champion Simon Magakwe, up from Cape Town with his training squad.Roto is focusing on the shorter sprint in Germiston. "My goal for the season is to go consistently sub-10, sub-10.05. If I can get that every week it means I can compete with the top sprinters, it means I can compete in Diamond Leagues and World Challenges."