Luvo Manyonga from South Africa competes in the men's long jump event, during the Weltklasse IAAF Diamond League international athletics meeting in the stadium Letzigrund in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, August 29, 2019. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

DOHA – In the absence of defending champions Caster Semenya (800m) and Wayde van Niekerk (400m), the 31-member South African team for the World Championships in Doha, Qata, will be led by world champion Luvo Manyonga, who is defending his title in the men's long jump.

The team arrived in the country on Wednesday to begin their countdown to the biennial event which will be held at Khalifa International Stadium from Friday until October 6.

Among others, the SA contingent will be looking up to African long jump champion Ruswahl Samaai, Olympic javelin throw medallist Sunette Viljoen and World Championships 100m finalist Akani Simbine.

Former World Championships 200m medallist Anaso Jobodwana will also be in the frame as the team try to retain their top-three medals finish of 2017.

The squad also features world junior champion, Zeney van der Walt, who will compete in the women's 400m hurdles event as one of the team’s most exciting global young prospects.

“We have sent a team to compete with the best in the world. Their mandate is to continue where we left off in the last championship two years ago," said Athletics SA president Alec Skhosana.

“We look forward to a great competition for each athlete. This is the world stage all of them have been working towards and now it’s down to individuals to shine, spring surprises and live up to expectations.

"Our athletes must target a place on the podium,” he added. 

African News Agency (ANA)