TRACK & FIELD
The women ’ s 100m hurdles is fast becoming one of the most highly anticipated events on the SA athletics scene , thanks to a new crop of young hurdlers coming to the fore , claiming SA Records and other accolades . – BY WILHELM DE SWARDT with SEAN FALCONER
Bieldt Breaks Record in Italy
Taylon Bieldt set a new South African record for the 100m hurdles on 4 June in a meet in Italy when she won her race in 12.76 seconds . That gave her a time 0.05 seconds faster than the South African Record 12.81 set by the recently retired Rikenette Steenkamp in 2018 , and made Taylon just the second senior athlete to set a new SA Record this season – Leandri Geel did so in the hammer throw with a 66.11m effort in April at the SA Champs .
In a recent interview for Business Day , Taylon said about her record run , “ I believed it was possible , but of course , I ’ d never run that fast , so it was very special to cross the line and see that time on the board . I ’ m so grateful for the SA record , because I know how hard it is to overcome all the obstacles . I ’ m hugely excited for both the season ahead and the rest of my career . This latest success is a reflection of all those years of preparation I put in .”
The 24-year-old who is studying for her Master ’ s degree in Management and Entrepreneurship at Tshwane University of Technology , added that the record , while hugely satisfying , was more part of a process . “ When you ’ re trying to make a career out of track , you look at the bigger picture , so for me it was to constantly keep improving . Initially , the SA record was something I wanted , but it ’ s not my main goal ... that was also part of improving and it ’ s another box I can tick off .”
Pre-COVID , Taylon had clocked a best of 13.40 , in Morocco , and after the pandemic she hit the ground running in 2021 with a new personal best of 13.33 , set twice in the space of eight days in two meets in Italy , with another 13.40 in between for good measure . The following year she posted a massive improvement of 13.09 early in the year to finish second at the Gauteng North Champs , behind great rival Marioné Fourie ( 12.86 ), but due to a strong following wind , those times were not recognised officially . Just four days later Taylon clocked 13.15 at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix meet in Bloemfontein , and after winning the USSA Championships title in May , she went to Spain in June and posted a new personal best 13.10 .
This year , she picked up exactly where she left off in 2022 , by clocking another 13:10 at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix in Potchefstroom on 26 April , and then came the big breakthrough as she posted her first sub-13 on 5 May at the USSA Championships in Bloemfontein , clocking 12.91 to retain her student champs title . That made her just the fourth South African female hurdler to dip under 13 seconds -
Images : Reg Caldecott , Barco Greeff
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