Womens 200mThe first day of the ASA National Senior Championships in Stellenbosch ended with one surprise after the other.

The start of the day was packed with heats, but things heated up as soon as Antonio Alkana cruised to the men’s 110mh final in a blistering 13.79sec run. The early women’s Shot-Put event was won by the in-form Ischke Senekal with a best leap of 15.28m; thus qualifying comfortably for the African Senior Championships happening in June in Durban. The men’s Triple Jump crowned Menzi Mthembu as the new national champion with his 16.15m effort whereas Victor Hogan surprised the country with his 67.62m Discus-throw best! This throw was the third best by a South African in this distance and most definitely one of the performances of the day.

The men’s long distance running well with Elroy Gelant finishing second to Steven Mokoka in the men’s 5000m race which did not live up to expectations. Mokoka’s winning time of 13min40sec is twenty seconds slower than Gelant’s time at the Greenpoint Stadium a few weeks ago.

The sprinters set the track alight when they ran very fast 100m times to qualify for their respective semi-finals and possibly finals. The whole day provided a great build-up for the women’s and men’s 100m dash which saw Henricho Bruintjies and Alyssa Conley being crowned new 100m champions; Conley clocked 11.36sec and Bruintjies 10.17sec to win these respective races, thus surpisingly beating clear favourites Carina Horn and Akani Simbine.

The men’s 400mh also provided quite a show when three men came down the home-straight hungry for this title! But it was the South African record holder, LJ van Zyl, who dipped Cornel Fredericks to get his title back and qualify for the Olympic Games. Wenda Nel, on the other hand, ran her own and showed that she is in a class of her own when she won the women’s 400mh race in a new world lead of 54.84sec.

Nothing less than five athletes have already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the first day of the championships. However, day two is the day of finals and finals provide a platform for greatness! Are you ready? If not, brace yourself.