On Friday, at the Great City Games in Manchester, Clarence Munayi of TuksSport High School, will live his dream when he will race against Trayon Bromell of the USA over 150 metres. Bromell, who is just 21 years old, burst onto the senior scene in 2015 with a third-place finish in the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. With a time of 9.92, he was left just behind Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin. His time of 9.84, achieved in the USA team trials, made him the joint tenth fastest man in history.
In 2014, when Bromell ran 9.97 at the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he became the first junior to break the ten-second barrier. Bromell got off to a flying start earlier this season again when he won the 60m in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon.
“As far as I am concerned, Trayon has the ability to become the next real deal in international sprinting. He is a definite role model for me and it still seems unrealistic that I will be racing against him. I hope it will be an awesome race,” said the 18 year old Clarence Munayi. Clarence has shown signs that he himself could develop into a world class sprinter!
Under the guidance of Hennie Kriel, Head Coach at the Tuks High Performance Centre, Clarence has won the South African junior as well as senior titles in the 200 metre discipline. He has qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio on two occasions by running times of 20.36. He has also improved his best time in the 100 metres to 10.28. In spite of Clarences’ success, Kriel is realistic about the challenges that await them.
“A study of the IAAF’s all-time list of fastest junior sprinters (under-20) does not make for good reading. Most of the athletes never had any impact as senior sprinters. They disappeared from the scene without ever fulfilling their potential. Our main challenge at the moment is to give Clarence the necessary guidance and support to help him bridge the gap between excelling at junior level and being equally successful at senior level,” the Tuks/HPC coach said.
His advice for Munayi for Friday’s ‘big race’ is to enjoy the moment and to learn as much as he can from racing against the best. Munyai said he is grateful that his coach had the vision to let him run against senior athletes this season. “It has toughened me up mentally. I am no longer intimidated when I compete against older athletes because I now realize that they are also just human and have the same anxieties and expectations that I have as a youngster. I know I cannot beat Trayon or athletes like Kim Collins, but that does not mean that I am not going to race flat-out. It will be strange to race over 150 metres.”
Thando Roto of Tuks finished jointly first yesterday in the 100 metres in a time of 10.41, at a meeting in Rehlingen, Germany. Lesotho’s Mosito Lehata also ran 10.41. Gift Leotlela of TuksSport High School was third in 10.48.
According to Kriel the athletes had to contend with cold and windy conditions.