SA sprinter Shaun Maswanganyi grabs two medals, 200m PB at NCAA champs
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CAPE TOWN - Another personal best in the 200m and two medals made it a successful NCAA national championships for South Africa’s sprint talent Shaun Maswanganyi in Eugene, Oregon at the weekend.
The 20-year-old, competing in his freshman season for the University of Houston Cougars team, was up against 22-year-old Louisiana State University (LSU) favourite Terrance Laird, who has a 200m personal best of 19.81 seconds (the world lead this year), and has run a 100m wind-assisted time of 9.80 – both of which he produced in 2021.
In the 100m race, Maswanganyi made a solid start, with his long strides quickly putting him into the lead after about 50 metres. Micah Williams then caught up with him, but the South African kept going all the way to the line.
The duo, though, wouldn’t have seen Laird ranging up on the outside in lane eight, and the latter burst past both of them to win in 10.05, a new personal best.
Maswanganyi managed to finish second in 10.09, with Williams third in 10.11.
Then Maswanganyi – who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 100m and 200m – had to get ready for the 200m just 43 minutes later, but that was no problem as he surged into the lead.
He was well ahead of the field coming out of the bend, and it looked like he was on track for the gold medal.
Laird then started chasing him down, but in between that pair, a charging 23-year-old Joseph Fahnbulleh from the University of Florida came from nowhere and snatched the title in 19.91 – the sixth-fastest time in the world this year.
Laird took the silver in 19.94, while Maswanganyi will be thrilled to have run another new personal best of 20.10, beating his previous mark of 20.18.
“I’m so emotional rn (right now) bro. It’s only the beginning. #RoadToTokyo” Maswanganyi posted on his social media platforms afterwards, before reflecting on his excellent season later by stating: “Freshman Season, 4 x All-America Honors, No.7 & 8 South African All Time 100m and 200m, No.2 South African All-time 60m.”
Meanwhile, SA 200m record holder Clarence Munyai made his first appearance on the European circuit this season when he competed at the AtletiCAGenève event in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday.
Munyai, whose national mark stands at 19.69, clocked 20.49 to finish second behind France’s Mouhamadou Fall, who won in 20.37.
There were three other South Africans participating at the same meeting – Tiaan Kleynhans (13.93 to finish fourth in the 110m hurdles), Gena Lofstrand (eighth in women’s 800m in 2:07.38) and Taylon Bieldt (seventh in women’s 400m hurdles in 56.55).