No sprinter will ever give up the opportunity to clock a fast time; however, Clarence Munyai has changed his priorities slightly. This year it is for him all about winning medals.
Or to use the Tuks based sprinter who is coached by Hennie Kriel (Grigora)’s own words: “I intend improving my CV. I missed out winning a medal at the World Junior Championships as well as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Hopefully, it will be third time lucky for me when I get to compete at the Doha World Championships.”
However, it is a case of first things first. If Munyai has his way, he will already start adding to his medal collection when he lines up to race the 200m-final on Friday at the South African Senior Athletics Championships in Germiston. He has got one senior national title to his name.
During the 2016 South African Championships in Stellenbosch Munyai caused a major upset when he won the 200 metres in 20.74s. At the time he was a Grade 11-learner at TuksSport High School.
“I am now racing for real. There is no more excuse about me being a junior athlete racing older, stronger and more experienced sprinters. I am a man and will be racing as a man.”
The longer sprint has the makings to be one of the weekend’s highlights as four of South Africa’s fastest ever 200m-athletes could be competing in Friday’s final. That is if nothing unforeseen happens.
Munyai set a new South African record last year winning his semifinal heat in 19.69s. The South African 100m record holder, Akani Simbine (Tuks), has got a personal best time of 19.95s to his name. The former World bronze medallist, Anaso Jobodwana, clocked a personal best of 19.87s. Last year’s national champion, Luxolo Adams has got a time 20.01s to his name.
Munyai and Kriel have left nothing to chance in the build-up to the national championships.
“During training Hennie and I gave some thought to the possible scenarios that could play out and we have strategised accordingly. I know that Akani is pure speed and power while Anaso has really long strides and just becomes faster and faster. Luxolo is also tall sprinter with an excellent top end speed.
“I am in the lucky position that I can go out fast with the best running a good curve or I could start out slightly slower and be fast when it matters.”
Munyai was hesitant about predicting any times.
“I prefer to let my legs do the talking first, and then I will discuss what happened afterwards. Although my first priority is to medal, I won’t hesitate to race flat-out if there is a need for it during the semifinals. For the first time, I am strong and fit enough to really go through three rounds of serious racing.”
According to Munyai the one that he lacked in the past was endurance, but over the last few months, he has worked to rectify it.