Rounding off a record-breaking week for South African athletics, Henrico Bruintjies set a new national mark in the men’s 100m in Switzerland yesterday.
Bruintjies shaved 0.01 seconds off the previous South African record of 9.98 held by Simon Magakwe. He won his heat at the Resisprint International meeting clocking 9.97 to become only the third South African to break through the 10-second barrier in the 100m sprint.
Bruintjies’ coach, Hennie Kriel, said he believed it was only a matter of time before his star athlete broke through the 10-seconds barrier. “He was very excited and I asked him if it was official and he immediately replied ‘yes, yes,'” Kriel said.
“I knew a good time was on the cards, the race was at 1 000m above sea level but he is now running good times in European conditions.
“This feat follows the 9.99 time Akani Simbine posted at a European Permit meeting in Slovenia on 1 July.
Bruintjies was disappointed after finishing behind Simbine in that race, clocking 10.15. “He was not happy with his own race and the last two or three weeks he’s been saying that he was ready to go below 10 seconds,” Kriel said.
On Saturday night, 4 July, Wayde Van Niekerk became the first African to dip below 44 seconds in the men’s 400m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris. Van Niekerk beat Grenadian Olympic champion Kirani James in a new South African and African record time of 43.96.
James had to be content with second place, clocking 44.17, with David Verburg of the United States bagging bronze in 44.81.