Carina Horn

Carina Horn hurtled to a national 100m record time of 11.03 seconds at Tuks on Thursday to get the South African Championships off to an explosive start.

The record came in the 100m semi-finals and saw her improving on South Africa’s former ‘First Lady of Speed’ Evette de Klerk’s almost 29-year-old record by 0.03sec.

De Klerk said that after 28 years, it was high time that her record went. ‘To be honest, I’m a bit nostalgic knowing that my record is gone, but then again, I didn’t expect it to be part of the statistics for so long. It was getting to be worrisome. Athletics records are there to be broken as it means the sport is healthy. I’m glad it was Carina who got the record because I understand she has put in long, hard hours to be able to do so.

‘From personal experience, I can vouch how difficult it is in sprints, especially the 100m, to shave off those hundredths of seconds. It took me a long time from running 11.14 to be able to run a time of 11.06 eventually.’

There is indeed truth in what De Klerk is saying. Horn equalled De Klerk’s record in 2015, and it took her another three years to improve by just 0.03.

However, the South African 200m record of 22.06, which De Klerk set on 8 April 1989, still stands.

‘Don’t get me wrong as I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think it will be a while before anyone comes close to improving on the 200m record. Our local sprinters are still battling just to break 23 seconds,’ says De Klerk.

‘I think one of the problems is that we have currently got individuals in every event trying to lift the standard of racing. The day I ran 22.06 in Pietersburg [now Polokwane], there were five of us dipping under 23 seconds, including Myrtle Bothma.

‘In the 100m, there was never such a thing as an easy race as I was pushed by the likes of Elinda Vorster, Marcel Winkler, Mari-Lise Coetzer and others. If you did not give it your all every time you raced, there was a realistic chance that you would lose.’

Horn’s Austrian coach Rainer Schopf was quite emotional moments after she had set a new record.

‘At long last, we have achieved what we set out to do. The last few years were not easy as we made some mistakes. Luckily we can learn from it. The most important thing we have learned is the importance of indoor racing for Carina.

‘Last year, she did not do so at all. It led to her having quite an average season as a sprinter. In 2015, when she equalled the South African record running 11.06, she also improved her indoor time in the 60 metres to 7.19. Earlier this season she twice improved the South African indoor-record, setting times of 7.10s and 7.09s, and now she ran 11.03 in the 100m.’

Schopf confidently predicts that it is now only a question of time before the Tuks athlete will dip under 11 seconds in the 100m.

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29 May 2018
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