Caster Semenya has been named in Athletics South Africa's provisional relay preparation squad. Photo: BackpagePix
Caster Semenya has been named in Athletics South Africa's provisional relay preparation squad. Photo: BackpagePix

SA finally target relay success

By Ockert de Villiers Time of article published Jan 17, 2017

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Johannesburg - Athletics South Africa unveiled a potent, potential-filled 33-member provisional relay preparation squad on Monday with an eye on the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas and the World Championships in London later this year.

The country’s top sprinting talent including Olympic gold medalists Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya have been named in the squad that will be looking to qualify men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400m relay teams.

The World Relays will also include 4x200, 4x400, and 4x800m relays but ASA did not mention whether it had plans to enter teams in those events. South Africa could field competitive teams in these disciplines that would stand realistic chances of bagging medals in the Bahamas.

South Africa boasts some insane talent over the 100m dash, spearheaded by SA record holder Akani Simbine and world 400m record holder Van Niekerk. Add national 100m champion Henricho Bruintjies and SA 200m record holder Anaso Jobodwana, and you have prospective medalists.

South Africa can field an even more potent men’s 4x200 relay team that could include Van Niekerk, Jobodwana, Simbine and the two juniors who featured at the Rio Olympics, Gift Leotlela and Clarence Munyai.

The mixed event will make its debut at senior level after it was first staged at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, where South Africa won silver courtesy of a exhausting final-leg effort from Kyle Appel.

South Africa could again enter an exciting team that could include national 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl, Van Niekerk, Semenya and top women’s one-lap hurdler Wenda Nel.

This would all of course be dependent on whether South Africa qualify teams for the global showpiece and if the athletes were available to participate.

ASA had earmarked the One-Hour Elite Meetings to qualify teams for the Bahamas showpiece, while it also planned two local training camps.

Should ASA succeed in its plans to send teams to the World Relays, the country’s top sprinting talent will not be racing at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in Potchefstroom which are scheduled on the same weekend in April.

Provisional squad:

Women’s 4x100m: Carina Horn, Alyssa Conley, Tebogo Mamathu, Tamzin Thomas, Wenda Nel, Cherese Jones, Maryke Brits, Madia Ehlers

Women’s 4x400m: Caster Semenya, Justine Palframan, Wenda Nel, Zoe Engler, Jeanelle Griesel, Rorisang Ramonye, Soandri Meyer, Sonja van der Merwe

Men’s 4x100m: Wayde van Niekerk, Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies, Gift Leotlela, Emile Erasmus, Anaso Jobodwana, Clarence Munyai, Samkelo Sebela

Men’s 4x400m: LJ van Zyl, Shaun de Jager, Jon Seeliger, Ranti Dikgale, Thapelo Phora, Berend Koekemoer, Pieter Conradie, Cornel Fredericks, Ashley Hlongwane

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