By JONGILE XUBA | 2022-08-06
ATHLETICS - ESWATINI’S fastest man Sibusiso ‘Swazi Bolt’ Matsenjwa has once again raised the country’s flag on the international stage as he has qualified for the men’s 200m semi-finals at the on-going Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Following his heroics at the Olympic Games in Japan earlier this year, the Royal Eswatini Police Service sprinter advanced to the next round of the competition after finishing second in his heat. He was competing in Heat 4 running in the fourth lane and finished with a time of 20.79s which was slightly slower than his season’s and personal best of 20.22s.
Matsenjwa had a strong start to the race and he finished even better, powering past Ibrahim Bangura of Sierra Leone in the final 100m just behind heat winner Jereem Richards from Trinidad and Tobago.
This means Matsenjwa will now be in action this evening around 8pm in the semi-finals. Benele Dlamini also competed in the men’s 200m heats competing in Heat 3 running in lane eight as he finished fifth overall.
He clocked a time of 22.17s, which was off pace from his personal best of 21.46s. Dlamini, who was competing at his first Commonwealth Games, didn’t have the best start in his race which cost him as he failed to catch up in the final stretch. Meanwhile, in the women’s category, Eswatini was represented by Bongiwe Mahlalela who was competing in the Heat 3 of the women’s 200m.
Unfortunately the sprinter was nursing a minor cold going into the race which saw her record a time of 25.31s to earn a fourth place finish. Mahlalela’s current season and personal best time is at 24.29s.
Eswatini Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (EOGCA) Chief Executive Officer Maxwell Jele said they were looking forward to the semi-finals, which could be a big moment for the country. “Wow! We are super proud of ‘Swazi Bolt’s’ qualification to the semis. We had a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) to strategise on his performance and I am happy to say he nailed it.
He still has more speed left in the tank, which he has reserved for the semi-finals. I am confident of a possible new personal best and new national record from him during the semis,” Jele said.
Coming to the other athletes the former Eswatini National Tennis Association president said they were satisfied with their performances and expected them to improve in the next competitions. “On the other athletes, we are quite satisfied with their performances since most of them were competing at these games for the first time.
Some like Menzi recorded personal best times while others were very close. This gives us confidence in the future since they are still developing. With regards to Ayanda, we wish him a speedy recovery and believe that he will come out stronger going forward,” he said.
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