JOHANNESBURG - Taking over the baton as South Africa’s sprinting hope at the World Student Games in Taipei, Thando Roto will be looking to win the country’s third consecutive 100m title at the showpiece in August.
South Africa have selected a strong athletics squad of 44 men and women. as they aim to reach their target of 10 medals at the Games in Taiwan from August 19 to 30. The country will send a 180-member squad in 10 sporting codes including a men’s and women’s football teams, waterpolo, tennis, table tennis, gymnastics, golf and fencing.
The track and field athletes contributed four of the country’s six medals in Gwangju, South Korea in 2015 finishing 25th on the medals table.
Flag-bearer Justine Palframan will be defending her 400m title while former South African 200m champion Ncincilili Titi has also been included in the team.
South Africa has built a strong tradition in the short sprints over the last two editions of the Games with Anaso Jobodwana winning the 100-200m double in 2013 before Akani Simbine won the short-sprint title two years later.
Roto will go into the Games as the third fastest South African 100m sprinter of all-time with the life-time best of 9.95 seconds he posted in Pretoria in March.
Titi was a member of the 4x100m relay bronze medal team from 2015 which included Gideon Trotter, Eckhardt Rossouw and Simbine.
Roto will fancy his chances of bagging South Africa’s third consecutive 100m title while Titi will be looking to clinch an individual medal after finishing fourth in the half-lap sprint two years ago.
Ranked as the second best long jumper in the world this season, Ruswahl Samaai will be representing South Africa at next month’s IAAF World Championships in London before taking aim at the Student Games.
In-form 100m hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp, who recently missed out on the national senior record by 0.05 seconds will be looking finish her season on a high with a medal in Taipei.
Middle-distance ace Rynardt van Rensburg will return to the Student Games hoping for an upgrade to his bronze medal from South Korea.
The swimming team will be spearheaded by Rio Olympian Myles Brown, who will also be in action at next week’s Fina World Championships in Budapest.
Rising star Zane Waddell will be looking to add more accolades to the three individual gold medals he won at the Commonwealth Youth Games two years ago.
At this year’s national championships in Durban he swam the eighth fastest time by a South African in the 100m freestyle when he won the senior title in a time of 49.09 seconds.
Despite qualifying for the World Championships, top female swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker has instead decided to focus her attention on the Student Games.
Schoenmaker became the first female swimmer since 2013 to meet the mark for the world championships boasting a personal best of 2:24.93.