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Munyai aims to make his mark against role model in Manchester
- Updated: May 17, 2016
Clarence Munyai (TuksSport High School), gets to live his dream on Friday when he races against Trayon Bromell (USA) over 150 metres at the Great City Games in Manchester, England.
Bromell, who is 21 years old, burst onto the senior scene last year with a third-place finish in the 100-metre final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
With a time of 9.92 seconds he was behind Bolt and Justin Gatlin. His time of 9.84, achieved in the USA team trials, made him the joint 10th fastest man in history.
In 2014, when he ran 9.97 at the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he became the first junior to break the 10-second barrier. Bromell got off to a flying start earlier this season when he won the 60m in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon.
‘As far as I am concerned, Trayon has the ability to become the next real deal in international sprinting. He is a definite role model for me and it still seems unrealistic that I will be racing against him. I hope it will be an awesome race,’ said the 18-year-old Munyai, who has shown signs that he himself could develop into a world class sprinter.
Under the guidance of Hennie Kriel (coach at Tuks/HPC) he has won the South African junior as well as senior 200m titles. He’s also qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio on two occasions by running times of 20.36 and has also improved his best time in the 100m to 10.28s.
In spite of Munyai’s’s success, Kriel is realistic about the challenges that await them.
‘A study of the IAAF’s all-time list of fastest junior sprinters (under-20) does not make for good reading. Most of the athletes never had any impact as senior sprinters. They disappeared from the scene without ever fulfilling their potential. Our main challenge at the moment is to give Clarence the necessary guidance and support to help him bridge the gap between excelling at junior level and being equally successful at senior level,’ the Tuks/HPC coach said.
His advice for Munyai for Friday’s ‘big race’ is to enjoy the moment and to learn as much as he can from racing against the best.
Munyai said he is grateful that his coach had the vision to let him run against senior athletes this season. ‘It has toughened me up mentally. I’m no longer intimidated when I compete against older athletes because I now realise that they are also just human and have the same anxieties and expectations that I have as a youngster.
‘I know I cannot beat Trayon or athletes like Kim Collins but that does not mean that I am not going to race flat-out. It will be strange to race over 150 metres.’
Meanwhile Thando Roto (Tuks/HPC) finished joint first yesterday in the 100 metres with Lesotho’s Mosito Lehata at a meeting in Rehlingen, Germany. Gift Leotlela (TuksSport High School) was third in 10.48 in cold and windy conditions.
Picture courtesy of Reg Caldecott