The fastest woman at 100m hurdles in 2014 was conspicuous in her absence at the Varsity Athletics meet in Stellenbosch. This was because of a hamstring injury she sustained about two weeks prior to SA Champs.
The injury came as Rikenette Steenkamp was gearing up for another good year after a successful comeback in 2014, when she managed to get back to her best having healed from a long term injury which had her out for almost twelve months.
In an exclusive interview with Obzeva.co.za, Steenkamp explained that while running at the Tuks Athletic league, her left hamstring cramped over a few hurdles before she had to stop at the sixth hurdle. Following a sonar scan, it was diagnosed as being something between a mild to moderate strain, with a slightly greater number of muscle fibres which are stretched, thus inducing a more severe muscle pain and tenderness.
“It has been a disappointment not to be able to defend the SA-title” Steenkamp said, “but it is important for me to listen to my body and to recover properly.” Though she narrowly missed qualification for the Commonwealths Games in 2014 by a fraction of a second, Rikenette rounded off her season with a 13,16 sec finish at the Marrakesh IAAF Continental Cup; an event which marked one of the highlight of her season last year.
The BA Sports Management Hons student says that she chooses not to see all as lost, but to make use of the time for rest and focusing more on smaller things. “I believe balance is important in life, so the past few weeks I spent quality time with friends and family, and that was a true blessing” she explained.
She believes the support of team and family has been a blessing and has helped her not only cope emotionally with the injury, but also to stay focused on her vision and perspective.
The Tuks athlete says that hopefully the injury will not affect her plans to run less in South-Africa and more in Europe in 2015. Based on her progress the medical team informs her that the rehabilitation should take another two more weeks, following which the process of getting strong and fast will start again as she continues her relentless pursuit of the elusive time of sub-13 sec.
Though the IAAF-entry standards regarding winners of area championships in 2014 as having automatically achieved the standard for the 2015 World championships, the final say as to whether she makes the team is still in Athletic South Africa’s hands.
ASA has requested that she provides a fitness report, so as to monitor her progress.
The general qualification dead-line is 10 August 2015.