How Coach Warner Prinsloo helped sprinter Carina Horn after her drug ban

How Coach Warner Prinsloo helped sprinter Carina Horn after her drug ban

South African 100m champion Carina Horn thought her life was over and was ready to hang up her spikes, but prominent track and field coach Warner Prinsloo stepped in to save her.

The sprint ace was down and out when she served a two-year drug ban from September 2019 to early 2022, after she tested positive for Ibutamoren – a growth hormone – and LGD-4033 – a testosterone replacement.

“When she asked me to become her coach last year, it was a mental challenge. I had to reassure her to take it step-by-step and not be too hard on herself or see herself as a failure," explained Prinsloo. 

"She was emotional, and I told her to be patient and be a role model of how to bounce back from shame. I made her believe in herself again. 

"I predict a great year for her in 2023. She is back [as] a new person and ready to do her best on the track."

Horn won her fourth national 100m senior title, clocking 11.54 seconds at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town last year, as well as a bronze medal at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Mauritius to qualify for the World Senior Championships in the USA.

She capped off a fine 2022 by winning the Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) Senior Athlete of the Year award, but Prinsloo says the sprinter will not rest on her laurels this year, and is targeting a fifth senior national title between 30 March and 3 April in Potchefstroom.

"Carina is preparing for the senior national championships and is determined to defend her title. We want her to run sub-11 seconds, which she is equal to the task," he added.

"She is in good shape and no longer worried about the past. I told her to focus on making 2023 her best year and make this year count."

Prinsloo told the public broadcaster she is working hard in training, and her main objective was to qualify for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August, for which the qualifying time has been set at 11.08 seconds.

"World Athletics want a stronger field at the World Championships, and Horn will increase her performance to match that time. We are all on the same boat, and instead of complaining about the stringent criteria, we are up for the challenge," said Prinsloo.

"We will discuss the races to run locally before going to Gemona, Italy, for a training camp in May. We will be in Gemona until the World Championships in Budapest."