South Africa's Ncincilili Titi puts his foot in it in London — literally
Ncincilili Titi made his professional debut at the Anniversary Games in London on Sunday‚ and then put his foot in it straight afterwards — literally.
After finishing seventh in the 200m in 20.44sec‚ the US-based sprinter took off his spikes and‚ barefoot‚ walked through the mixed zone where he stopped for a media interview.
Titi was unconcerned about the platter-sized wet spot he happened to be standing in until officials nearby pointed out that the puddle was actually the watery contents vomited up by another athlete shortly before.
He stepped away‚ but laughed it off with a shrug of the shoulders‚ pointing out he could wash his feet.
Titi‚ 24‚ is hoping to make a more meaningful splash in the sport down the line.
He is confident he will break the 20-second barrier in the not too distant future‚ having posted a 20.00 personal best in the US in April.
“You know‚ when I ran that‚ the clock stopped at 19.97 and then got rounded up. Some part of my body crossed in under 20 seconds and then they rounded it to the chest.”
That effort lifted him to fifth on the all-time SA 200m list‚ behind Clarence Munyai (19.69)‚ Wayde van Niekerk (19.84)‚ Anaso Jobodwana (19.87) and Akani Simbine (19.95).
And Luxolo Adams is breathing down his neck on 20.01.
“In terms of the barrier‚ I know it will happen one day‚” said Titi. “Hopefully soon‚ but in my head‚ when I saw 19 on the clock‚ that gave me the belief that I can do it.”
Originally from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape and then Selborne College in East London‚ where he was a year behind Jobodwana‚ Titi’s first name drives fear into the heart of most "mlungus".
One athletics coach in America gave up after some feeble attempts of “Neenee”‚ and dubbed him Two Clicks instead. “That was pretty funny‚” the athletes commented.
Titi‚ who will finish his public heath studies at the University of Southern Carolina at the end of the year‚ hasn’t competed in South Africa since winning the 200m crown at the 2014 national championships.
“I’m free now so I’m able to go to the ASA [Athletics SA] speed series and hopefully SA champs [next year]. I definitely want to be prominent on the South African scene.”
He was part of the relay team that broke the SA 4x100m relay record at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow‚ and will represent the country once again at the African Championships in Nigeria from August 1-5‚ doing the 200m and the relay.
“If I can make to the Continental Cup in the 200 as well as the 4x1‚ that’s my goal.”
The Continental Cup‚ to be staged in Ostrava on September 8 and 9‚ pits the winners of the various continental championships around the world against each other.
Since leaving SA‚ Titi‚ a qualified pilot‚ hasn’t flown a plane. “I’m flying on the track instead‚” he joked.
Hopefully there’ll be no more wet touchdowns.