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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'That was so unexpected' - Viwe Jingqi announces return with new SA 150m best

Off all the world class performances that took place this weekend from Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo running 30.71 to smash the 300m World Best, Akani Simbine’s new SA 150m best and Cian Oldknow’s 2:25 42,2km debut at the Seville Marathon, perhaps the most encouraging was Viwe Jingqi’s comeback.

After taking the world by storm when she set a new African U18 100m record with a lightening fast 11.22 back in 2022, Jingqi was cut down by injury last year. But on the occasion of her 19th birthday, the North West university top runner set the Pilditch Stadium alight when she scorched to a new SA best time to win the Simbine Curro Classic Shootout 150m in 16.93

Jingqi accelerates away from Banele Shabangu and Taylon Bieldt to win the #SimbineClassicShootOut women's 150m race at the Pilditch Stadium. Photo Credit: Cecilia van Bers.

“That was so unexpected to be honest,” she told Themba Madima os BackSports moments after the thrilling run. “You guys know how the past year has been hell for me. So when I came here I said to myself just run and whatever comes out at the end is what you have worked for. And there it is! But it is all God’s work and I am grateful.”

That Jingqi was able to run this fast this early in the season is a mark of the quality of the racing opportunity afforded to her. The woman who is coached by Paul Gorries came under pressure from Eswatini’s Bongiwe Mahlalela over the last 30 metres of a race that also included reigning SA 200/400m champion Miranda Coetzee and former SA 100m hurdler record holder Taylon Bieldt. 

Simbine dominated the men's 150m to eclipse the previous SA 150m best which had been set by Anaso Jobodwana in 2018. Photo Credit: Cecilia van Bers.

Simbine who has thrown his weight behind the classic Shootout event which took place under the banner of the Curro High Schools Grand Finale on Saturday 17 February, says it’s all about giving athletes in and around SA the opportunity to run competitive early season races over non-standard distances.

"The fact that the Simbine Curro Classic Shootout can bring in internationals is a big thing. For me this is all about giving athletes the opportunity to run in off-season races and using training races to do it. The fact that we are attracting international guys here is really amazing. I'm hoping that more internationals will wanna come to South Africa and experience our summer and the racing here because our season is hot and we have great athletes. It's open to the world."

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