Magakwe eyes 9.98 seconds
SIMON Magakwe is eyeing more than merely breaking 10 seconds in the 100m - he wants to go even faster.
"I have to aim high," Magakwe said at the end of the SA open athletics championships in Pretoria at the weekend, where he was one of four local athletes to achieve Olympic qualifying times.
The others were Wenda Theron (twice in the women's 400m hurdles), Tsholofelo Thipe (women's 200m) and Thuso Mpuang (men's 200m).
"I want to go 9.89 seconds. That time won silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"I want to dip in," said Magakwe, who plans to race next in Europe, at the Ostrava Golden Spike meet in Czech Republic on May 25.
"I have been pushing other people this season. But if I can race against the top guys like (Usain) Bolt who will push me, then I can get there."
Magakwe, who recently equalled the 24-year-old national 100m record of 10.06sec, has been in red-hot form this season, having knocked off six qualifying times in the 100m and two in the 200m, but he has yet to secure his spot on the team for London. Still required from him - and 10 other South African athletes - is a qualifying time at an event with international status.
Magakwe had thought these championships, where athletes from neighbouring countries and even Malaysia competed, would count. But Athletics South Africa (ASA) chief executive Frik Vermaak was categorical: "No."
However, ASA will assist a large group of athletes to go to Europe to secure qualification, including Theron, Mpuang and Thipe.
Magakwe has been so dominant this season that Roscoe Engel's 10.21 on Friday went almost unnoticed. Hannes Dreyer has a season's best of 10.26. There is a sniff of a promise for a men's 4x100m relay team in London.
It seems absurd that Magakwe should still have to qualify to get to the Games. Then again, he has been so consistent that he shouldn't have any trouble delivering the required times abroad.