Magnificent Munyai makes history
An elated Clarence Munyai made history at the SA National Athletics Championships in Pretoria yesterday by smashing the senior SA 200 m men’s record held by Wayde Van Niekerk.
The 20-year representing Athletics Gauteng ran a blistering 19.69 seconds to eclipse Van Niekerk’s 19.84 set on 10 June last year at the Racer’s Grand Prix in Kingston Jamaica. Western Province’s Roscoe Engel (20.52) finished second. Thando Dlodlo fron Central Gauteng (20.55) was third and WP’s Kyle Appel (21.03) in 4th place.
However, it all came together for the youngster at the Tuk-stadium. His time is the 10th fastest time in history.
“I just turned 20. To run 19.69 at my age is out of this world. I never dream’t I would ever run that quick as a 20-year-old. Its a massive achievement. That is why I almost did a complete victory lap afterwards,” said Munyai
Asked what his feat would mean for his confidence in future competitions, Munyai said excitedly; “I think it will obviously put me under pressure now that I have done a 19.69. I will now have to step-up my game.
Munyai revealed that he approached the race in a different manner.
“In Ruimsig last week I ran a pretty good bend, I thought Ill try something different today.
“Initially I went out very slow and then pushed from the 150 m mark. I told myself not too push to hard on the bend and tried to preserve my energy for the home straight.
“That is exactly what I did. I felt very strong crossing the line. That strategy actually paid off for me today.”
Munyai’s coach Hennie Van Zyl alluded to the fact that he noticed that Munyai was in a zone earlier on in the heats. Van Zyl said he encouraged his athlete to approach the semis with the same mindset.
“It definitely did help. It first started in the heat. I decided to run my own race and not compete against the others. Coming to the semi-final, I had the same mindset. I had Roscoe breathing in my neck and the other junior boy behind me.
“I told myself I needed to focus on my own race. I realised that I just needed to focus on myself and not what others are going to do. Now I know what I need to do,” he added.