Carina Horn, who is currently one of South Africa’s most dedicated athletes, will begin her international campaign for 2016 by competing in an indoor meeting in Dusseldorf next Wednesday. When she competed in Dusseldorf last year she improved the South African 60 metres-record to 7.21 seconds. Later on, in Berlin, she ran an even faster time of 7.20s.
In 2015 the indoor campaign of the Tuks/HPC athlete was quite impressive. She won two of the five races in which she competed and finished second twice. This time round Horn will also compete in Karlsruhe (6 February), Berlin (13 February) and Glasgow (20 February).
However, she has opted not to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA (17-20 March), but to rather prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio. She says: ‘I would have loved to compete at the World Indoor Championships but logistically it is just not possible. Glasgow is the last indoor meeting of note which means that in the four weeks leading up to the World Championships I will not be able to compete. This is far from being an ideal situation, because if you want to get good results you need to be race sharp. The other reason why I decided to skip the Championships is because it is in the USA. Travelling to get there is never easy because you normally end up in a ‘travel-marathon’ of note. The fact that you have to cross a few time zones further complicates matters, because you have to allow enough time for your body to adapt. If I had decided to compete at the Championships I would basically have had only slightly more than a week to prepare for the South African Championships in Stellenbosch (15-16 April).’
According to Horn the main reason for her decision to compete indoors was that she wanted to improve her speed. Horn says: ‘My main goal will be to improve on my South African record at least once and naturally I would love to win one or two races.’ Horn certainly does not believe in setting mediocre goals for herself. She says: ‘I want to qualify for the Olympic 100m final. Yes, I am fully aware that it is a big ask. To accomplish this, I will have to run a time faster than the South African record of 11.06s. A ctually, if I am being quite realistic, I will probably have to run a lot faster. Judging by what has happened at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, only a time faster than 11 seconds will be good enough to guarantee a spot in the final but I consider myself up to the challenge.’
The question is not whether the Tuks/HPC athlete is capable of running a sub-11-seconds race, but rather when she will actually do it. In Madrid last year, when she equalled Evette de Klerk’s 25-year-old South African record of 11.06s, she proved that once she has made up her mind to achieve a specific goal, she does not give up before she has done it. Horn has proved that total dedication does pay off.
Her coach is Rainer Schopf of Austria but, unfortunately, he is not always able to be on hand when she trains because of other work obligations. Although she has been training on her own during the past few weeks, you will never find her skipping training sessions or running slower times than she is expected to because nobody is watching. She puts in training days of six or seven hours without any hesitation.
Remember, her motivation is a spot in the Olympic 100m final. Schopf says: ‘I consider an Olympic final to be one of the ultimate achievements. If I should manage to reach the final, all the hard work and sacrifices would be worthwhile.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott