AFTER a hiatus of more than a year, former Olympic sprinter Sergio Mullins made a stellar comeback at the EP athletics league meeting at the NMMU Stadium on Saturday.
Mullins faced stiff competition from a crop of young stars in the 100m, but the 33-year- old managed to assert himself in a commendable early season time of 10.92.
Madibaz teammate Lonwabo Majermen was second in 10.96 with Jade Schutte third in 11.09.
All three, however, fell short of the qualifying time for this year’s SA Championships, which is set at 10.75.
Absa NMMU Athletics manager Nellis Bothma said the times were slightly slower than usual due to unfavourable wind conditions.
The event, the first hosted by the Madibaz Athletics Club this year, also served as trials for the Ussa national student championships and Varsity Athletics team.
It was also an official qualifying event for the Nelson Mandela Bay athletics squad set to compete at the senior and junior national track and field champs in April.
Madibaz athletes dominated the event, with Ischke Senekal standing head and shoulders above the rest in the field disciplines. She broke the Eastern Province record in both the women’s discus and shot put, and improved on her personal best in the former.
No other athlete could come close to her 52.54m heave in the discus, and the distance was well within the national qualifying standard of 43m.
In the shot put, Senekal also secured a convincing victory with a qualifying throw of 13.97m. She beat former Brandwag High School pupil Kara Willemse, who managed 10.98m, and Amanda Antony, who set a best distance of 7.37m.
The men’s high jump was a further highlight, with Madibaz athlete Garth Ellis clearing 2.10m.
“Although not an EP record, we have not had any athletes achieve this height in a very long time,” Bothma said.
“The supporters were on the edge of their seats throughout his attempts.”
Athletes who took on the gruelling 5000m for men could not keep up with Madibaz runner Amos Nyongo, who stopped the clock in 14:59.02. Hugo Santa Cruz was a distant second in 15:38.39.
Although these times fell short of the national qualifying standard of 14:20, Bothma said the event drew massive reaction from supporters.
He said the meeting was open to all ages and showcased fantastic future talent. “A few records were shattered.”