'Its an honour. This time I take nothing for granted' - Carina Horn wins CGA Sportswoman of The Year
Of all the winners at last night's Central Gauteng Athletics Awards, perhaps the most grateful was Carina Horn. After returning from a two-year-ban last September, the 33-year-old enjoyed a season to remember as she claimed a fourth national 100m title of her career, a bronze medal at the African Championships and qualified for the World Championships barely six months after she had started training again last November. As it was when she won her first 100m race in over two years at the ASA Grand Prix Meeting in Potchefstroom in April, the emotion was once again written on Horn's face last night as she walked away with CGA's Sportswoman of the year award.
"It's a feeling I can't describe. It's been an emotional year because I didn't even know if I was ever going to compete," she told #TheTopRunner wrapped in a green dress at the glamorous awards ceremony held at Monte Casino. "I think that's why the emotions were so high because I hadn't been training for two years, I had a new coach and a new programme. So coming back and winning my first race it actually meant a lot to me. It's a hard feeling I can't explain."
And for all this success she credits her new coach Werner Prinsloo who took a gamble on a then 32-year-old sprinter who had just served a two year ban for the use of a banned substance. Many coaches might not but take the reputational risk, but Prinsloo welcomed Horn to his training base at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton to train alongside South Africa's most decorated 100m athlete of all time - Akani Simbine.
"I'm a difficult person to work with so I need to know that the coach I'm working with - we can work well together. It's not only about the programme but it's about the people you surround yourself with and the communication between the coach and the athlete - that was important," explained the woman who represented South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where she reached the semi-final.
The relationship immediately bore fruit as Horn stormed to an impressive 11.07 season's best at the Jose Antonio Pena Meeting in Spain, which is the eighth fastest time of a long career dating back to 2009. Prinsloo's race-by-race approach to her first season back saw the 100m National Record holder (10.98) win the CGA 100m title in 11.37 and also qualify for her first World Championships since 2017. Having had the opportunity to spend two years out of the sport she loves, the girl from Kempton Park is grateful for an uplifting 2022 season.
"It's an honour and just a feeling that this time I take nothing for granted. It's a nice feeling to be here again. Coming back to CGA this year and the warm welcome that I received is a nice feelign which always makes the competition nice as well. I believe I can still go faster. If everything goes well with my health then I think I can still beat the 10.98," she smiled.