CAPE TOWN - Shaun Maswanganyi's 100m and 200m qualifying times “is a great achievement for him”, but the door is still wide open for Team South Africa's sprint squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
That was the view of SA relays coach Paul Gorries yesterday from Gemona, Italy, where he is training his own group of athletes for European meetings over the next month.
Houston-based Maswanganyi has been threatening to breach the 10.05 and 20.24 seconds in the 100m and 200m over the last few months, with strong winds often denying him Olympic qualification.
He has gone as quick as 9.87 and 19.93 already, but those times were not recognised due to illegal wind limits above +2.0 metres per second.
But he made his breakthrough at the West regional event of the NCAA college series in Texas on Saturday, clocking 10.04 in the 100m and 20.19 in the 200m. Each country are only allowed three participants in each event, and as things stand, Gift Leotlela, Akani Simbine and Maswanganyi have qualified in the 100m, and Clarence Munyai and Maswanganyi in the 200m.
“Look, qualification is a great achievement for him, but the qualification is still wide open – up until 29 June. Anything can happen where that's concerned,” Gorries said.
“I've said it from the start: whoever wants that third spot in the 100m team is going to have to run sub-10. It's a good thing for the sport and South Africa in general – and also for the relay, because it just elevates the event to another level.
“We have the possibility of going into an Olympic Games with three sprinters that have run sub-10 in a calendar year, which hasn't happened in a long time, if ever, if I think about it.
“The faster the better, obviously. Everybody is stepping up to their A-game, and there are a few guys who are opening up their seasons in Europe soon. So, it's going to be a very interesting month of June.”
One of Gorries' main guns is Luxolo Adams, who has a personal best of 20.01 in the 200m. He was injured for the latter part of the SA season and missed the national championships, but has now recovered.
He will run in a 200m race in Hengelo, the Netherlands on Sunday. “Luxolo Adams is going to Hengelo, and Thando Dlodlo (100m) and Berend Koekemoer (400m) are going to Prague (June 7). (Sokwakhana) Zazini (400m athlete) is going to Turku in Finland on the eighth (of June), and those are the four guys who are with me at the moment,” Gorries said.
“Lux's PB is 20.01, which is very quick. The goal with him all along was to go sub-20 seconds this season, and it was unfortunate for him that he was just building up to some nice form, and got injured at the wrong time.”