SA is new home of sprint
South Africa’s sprint triumph in the Commonwealth Games 100m has emphasised the country’s bona fides as the future home of sprint kings.
South Africa claimed an upset one-two finish in the men’s 100m final, in which Akini Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies took gold and silver respectively, rubbing salt into Jamaican wounds in the first major competition since Usain Bolt retired from the sport.
“One of my friends called me and said: ‘The South Africans are the kings of sprint’ and what can I say? — they really showed up,” said Bolt, after showing off his football skills with some “keepy-uppy” on the beach. “South African athletes have shown they’re ready for the world and as Jamaicans we have to keep our eyes open.”
Despite Simbine’s shock victory, Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds — set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin — never looked threatened, the South African winning in 10.03.
Rioters send IPL team packing
Protest-hit Chennai Super Kings were ordered on Thursday to play their remaining Indian Premier League (IPL) home games 1 200km away in Pune after players had shoes thrown at them and threats that snakes would be released into their stadium.
Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state, which has seen volatile protests over the handling of a water-shortage crisis. The authorities said they could not guarantee security at Super Kings’ matches.
“The IPL governing council assessed the current situation in Chennai and a decision was taken to shift the matches from the MA Chidambaram Stadium to Pune,” a league statement said on Thursday.
On Tuesday, protesters — trying to raise awareness about a long-running water dispute with neighbouring Karnataka state — burnt debris and jostled with police. Shoes were hurled at Chennai players on the boundary ropes during the match.
A Tamil group on Wednesday threatened to release snakes during the Super Kings’ match on April 20 against Rajasthan Royals.
Luvo ready to break record
Champion long jumper Luvo Manyonga says that, with more time to acclimatise, he could have challenged Mike Powell’s world record of 8.95m set in 1991 — the year he was born.
In a dramatic men’s long-jump final Manyonga beat the competition with a jump of 8.41m to take gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
“If I could get some more time, I could give it a try,” he said of the damp and slippery Gold Coast track. “Anything can happen. I just have to focus on the run-up and technique; the rest will do itself.”
The 27-year-old now targets staying unbeaten for a second straight season, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching.
“It was on my bucket list of the major competitions and now I’ve ticked off the Commonwealth Games. I’m looking for the Intercontinental [Cup] and there’s still more to tick,” he said.
“I’m just going to go home and start working again,” added Manyonga. “It’s the same as a normal person going to the office: you just tick the box and go back home.”
Manyonga set what was then his personal best in winning Olympic silver in 2016, and he will be looking for another breakthrough in 2020 in Tokyo, where Powell set the existing world record in his famous duel with Carl Lewis.
A year ago, he leapt 8.65m in Potchefstroom, the longest jump recorded since American Dwight Phillips soared 8.74m in 2009. — Reports by Staff Reporter and AFP