JOHANNESBURG – A week ago, Orazio Cremona found himself in the wilderness, baffled by an apparent snub for the 2018 Commonwealth Games team in Australia until he received an email on Tuesday that he would be a late inclusion.
The shot put ace and South African sprinting queen Carina Horn, Justine Palframan and Gena Löfstrand were informed they would be selected provided they pass fitness tests.
“I received a message at about nine o’clock that I am on the team… it means a hell of a lot, it means the whole fight was not for nothing,” Cremona said.
“But I am just happy it has been rectified. I am very, very happy. All I wanted to do was go to the Commonwealth and get a shot at a medal, that is all I wanted to do the whole year.
“I am just excited to go a represent the country.”
Cremona was left out of the initial team that was announced in January, and when the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) announced more additions, Jaco Engelbrecht – who ranks below him – was included.
Cremona won his sixth national title in 2017 where his personal best heave of 21.12 metres was the biggest heave by a South African on home soil.
Although the throw ranked him fourth in the Commonwealth, it did not fall within the window period and instead, his best at the IAAF World Championships in London of 19.81m ranked him just outside the top-10.
When asked about Cremona’s apparent snub, ASA president Richard Stander suggested Sascoc selected the final team.
There also seemed to have been an issue with Cremona’s athlete’s licence, which initially prevented him from selection for the IAAF World Indoors in Birmingham last weekend and possibly for the Commonwealth Games.
This has since been cleared up, and Cremona will be looking to take his early season form into the Games.
He opened his season with a 20.66m in Pretoria at the end of January, which is the second-best throw of his career.
The 28-year-old said the performance that day was his best frequency of throws ever, which bodes well for his chances of challenging for a medal at the Games.
“It’s basically the best competition – besides the 21.12m, which is a great distance – on an average basis,” Cremona said.
“I feel in really good form, I feel in a lot better form than I was going into the last Commonwealth Games and even then, I was in good form.
“I feel much more stable, much more controlled, much stronger and more consistent, which is what you want.”
Cremona is currently ranked fourth in the world thanks to his 20.66m, which places him third in the Commonwealth behind Kiwi world indoor champion Tom Walsh and Darlan Romani of Jamaica with 21.87m and 21.06m respectively.