Frustration with a capital F might be the best way to describe how South Africa’s foremost female sprinter, Carina Horn, feels her season has played out thus far.
The Tuks/HPC-athlete raced only half as many races as she did before last year’s Olympic Games in Rio. Planes are the main source of her frustration, because due to unexpected delays she was regularly stranded on her way to meetings. Horn’s not quite sure how many hours she has ended up spending at various airports, but it’s far more than she would want to.
But being a realist, Horn realises that she has got to let bygones be bygones and focus on what matters, and that is to break 11 seconds at the World Championships in London.
‘It may sound like a contradiction, but in a way, it might just be a good thing that I am frustrated, because I’ve got something to prove and am hungry to race,’ said Horn.
Horn will line up in the 100m heats on Saturday morning (from 12:45 SA time) as the 20th fastest sprinter, having run a season’s best time of 11.10. She is quietly confident of making it through to the semi-finals.
‘The true challenge will be Sunday’s semi-final. Judging by what has happened at the 2015 World Championships, I’ll need to run a time faster than 11 seconds to have any chance of qualifying for the final. In Beijing, the slowest time to qualify for the final was 10.97s,’ said Horn, whose best time is currently 11.06.
She did run a time of 11.05 in July in a meeting in northern France, but the wind from behind was too strong.
Should she run a time faster than 11 seconds in the semi-final, would it not feel like mission accomplished, as she’d be the first South African female sprinter to do so?
‘If it happens, I’ll have to keep my emotions intact. I’m certainly not competing at the World Championships to run a fast time in the semi-final. My goal is to qualify for the final. That’s what I have worked and trained for. There’ll be ample time to celebrate a fast time afterwards.’
The Tuks/HPC-athlete fully realises every hundredth of a second counts in the short sprint. That’s why her Austrian coach, Rainer Schopf, spent a lot of time during training to ensure that she gets off to a fast start, as this is where the race could be won or lost.
‘We also focused quite a bit on the phase between 20 and 40 metres, because that is often where I tend to lose out big time. I think I’m now capable of keeping to accelerate through those vital few metres, reaching my top speed at 60 metres and maintaining it to the finish.’
Elaine Thompson, the Olympic champion over both short sprints in Rio last year, is the favourite to take her first world title.
The 25-year-old, with a best time of 10.70 from 2016, tops the world list with her 10.71s set in Kingston. She has also notched up four victories in IAAF Diamond League Meetings.
Photo: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images
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