South African sprinter Anaso Jobodwana brought down the house in Tshwane on Thursday night by pipping world 100m champion Justin Gatlin to the post in the 150m event at the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix.
Jobodwana started celebrating 20 meters before the line, knowing that he had claimed one of the biggest victories of his career, in a time of 15.08sec, ahead of Roscoe Engel (15.17sec), and Luxolo Adams rounding out the top three (15.18sec).
Gatlin had to settle for fourth (15.23sec) in the unusual distance. He was gracious in defeat, praising Jobodwana: "He ran a great race and it is good to see him running so well again.
"Next time I hope to come through [to South Africa] earlier, I did feel a bit jetlagged. So my coach told me to focus on my first 100m and see how I best finish the last 50m.
"I still felt I would win with 30m to go, but the legs came off. I usually open in May, so this was a bit early for me. But overall I am happy."
Jobodwana was introspective about his win, thinking about his newborn son: "Before the race I was just thinking about the last two years [he had struggled with injuries], my wife in America and my son being born yesterday.
"All that gave me the power to execute and run my race. I am very happy, as I am almost back to where I was."
The 150m was but the final race of an evening that saw spectacular performances coming in quick succession.
Local star and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya broke the 35-year-old SA record of Ilse De Kock Wicksel in the rarely-run 1000m race, crossing the line in 2:35.43. The previous record was 2:37.0, run in 1983.
Semenya was paced by 400m hurdler Wenda Nel and was taken through the 600m mark in 93sec, spot on for the record attempt.
"That was a good race for me. I know where I am in my training now and I am on track for what I want to achieve," Semenya said afterwards.
Olympic bronze medalist Ruswahl Samaai was too strong in the Long Jump with a leap of 8.24m, while Botswana's Isaac Makwala had targeted a sub 31sec in the 300m, but had to settle for a 31.77sec win over Thapela Phora (32.57sec).
Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei showed why he is the world 10 000m silver medalist, running a controlled 3000m race. Cheptegei sat behind pacemaker Elroy Gelant until he pulled off after 2000m. Cheptegei then raced on his own to win in a sub 8-minute time of 7:49.48.
Akani Simbine lived up to his billing as the fastest man in South Africa, opening his 2018 season with a 10.05sec win in the 100m event.
"I am happy with the win. I made sure that I focused on the first 60m and I executed that well. It is important to me to do that. Everything is going well in my group and I'm looking forward to the season," Simbine said.