WATCH: South African athlete Shaun Maswanganyi stuns the US with outstanding performance

Shaun Maswanganyi
Shaun Maswanganyi

South Africa sprint sensation and junior African champion, Shaun Maswanganyi recently stunned spectators and fellow athletes with his outstanding performances in Tampa, Florida on Sunday night.

The 20-year-old athlete from Soweto – who attended St Alban’s College in Pretoria – took the field in the 100m final, stopping the clock at 9.87 seconds while running for the University of Houston Cougars in The American Outdoor Track & Field Championships – as seen in the clip below.

Maswanganyi’s time would have been a new South African senior record (with the current mark at 9.89), but unfortunately, the wind-reading was an ‘illegal’ 3.8 metres per second (m/s) and his time could not be recognised.

A few minutes later, Maswanganyi clocked another incredible time in the 200m final, winning the gold medal in 19.93 seconds – but once again, the wind (3.3m/s) crushed his hopes of Olympic qualification.

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Maswanganyi has come close to qualifying for the Olympics many times- his 100m personal best of 10.06, which he ran in Pretoria last year, was just one-hundredth of a second outside the qualifying mark of 10.05. He finished with a 10.04 in Houston earlier this month, but the wind-reading was +2.8m/s, beyond the legal limit of 2.0m/s. He also clocked 10.05 in Tampa over the weekend in a 100m event, but the wind was 2.4m/s.

However, in both Sunday night’s events in Florida, Shaun Maswanganyi broke the meeting and stadium record and was chosen as the American Freshman of the Year. He joins current SA 100m record-holder Akani Simbine who ran a sizzling 9.82 at the national championships in Pretoria last month, but that was also not recognised due to strong wind.

They call us speed city for a reason. I owe most of my success to my coaches and my teammates because they pushed me a lot. They were there for me. At some meets, I didn’t perform the way I wanted to, but they were always there to motivate me. ” Shaun Maswanganyi

While Maswanganyi has yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, with further college events and an international season coming up, he has more than enough time to do so. And having two sprinting legends as his coaches at the University of Houston (UH), Americans Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis will certainly be an advantage.

“The most important process for me was trusting my coaches and my teammates,” Maswanganyi was quoted as saying by the UH website and student newspaper Daily Cougar’s sports editor, James Mueller. “My teammates were the ones who pushed me through. With the help of my teammates, the dynamics we have and pretty much how everyone worked together with the training staff, everything just kind of fell into place as the months progressed.”

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