Billed as a headline double act, Namibian sprint prodigies Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi lived up to the hype on Wednesday night, scorching to an impressive one-two in the women’s 100m sprint at the first leg of the ASA Grand Prix series in Bloemfontein.
Mboma, the Olympic 200m silver medallist in Tokyo last year, rocketed over the line in 11.15 seconds, with the 18-year-old athlete setting the second fastest time in the world this season.
“It was a great race. I didn’t expect to run this time, so I’m happy with it,” Mboma said.
“It’s my second 100m race of the year, and I’m hoping to get quicker.”
Masilingi also got her international season under way in style at the World Athletics Continental Tour meeting, taking second place in 11.24.
“It was a competitive race against my training partner. It’s still early in the season but things are looking good,” Masilingi said.
“We’ll be leaving for the United States in a few weeks where we are planning to run some races in Texas.”
There was a mini-upset, meanwhile, in the men’s shot put event, with Olympic finalist Kyle Blignaut taking a back seat to local rival Jason van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen bagged the win with a 20.64m heave, and former world junior champion Blignaut took second place (20.43m) in his first competition of the year after recovering from injury.
“I lost a bit of distance and a bit of progress because I was injured, but that’s normal after a six-week break,” Blignaut said.
“I feel like I’m back at it and throwing normally again, so hopefully I can keep improving and get some big distances this year.”
Among the other highlights at the top-flight track and field season opener, 19-year-old Marione Fourie won the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.10, and 21-year-old Zeney van der Walt won the women’s 400m race in 51.90, with both athletes shattering their personal bests.