Showtime at SA Athletics Champs with spotlight on Semenya, Van Niekerk and Manyonga
JOHANNESBURG – World champions Caster Semenya, Wayde van Niekerk and Luvo Manyonga are the drawcards in the hunt for national titles at the ASA Senior Track & Field and Combined Events Championships at the Germiston Athletics Stadium starting on Thursday 25 through to Sunday.
Semenya will spearhead a strong Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) team which features multiple other SA record holders, including sprinters Akani Simbine, who will turn out in the men's 200m event and Carina Horn, who lines up as the favourite for the women's 100m title.
The AGN squad also includes the likes of Olympic javelin throw medallist Sunette Viljoen, half-lap rocket Clarence Munyai, national 100m record holder Rikenette Steenkamp and world junior champion Zeney van der Walt who will again challenge teammate Wenda Nel for the national senior 400m hurdles title after being edged out in Tshwane last year.
Van Niekerk, meanwhile, is expected to continue his comeback from a knee injury in the men's 400m event.
The world and Olympic champion forms part of the Athletics Free State (AFS) team which also includes former Commonwealth Games champion Cornel Fredericks and fellow 400m hurdler PC Beneke, who are up against the AGN quartet of Le Roux Hamman, Lindsay Hanekom, Constant Pretorius and Sokwakhana Zazini in the men's one-lap barriers contest.
Veteran athlete Chris Harmse will also turn out in an AFS vest, aiming for his 23rd successive SA title in the men's hammer throw. He is up against a number of younger contenders including Renaldo Frechou (AGN) and Athletics Central North West (ACNW) teammates Tshepang Makhethe and Alan Cumming.
Rain has interrupted the morning session on day one of the ASA Senior Championships in Germiston. The action will continue as soon as it clears up #LevelUp— Athletics_SA (@AthleticsSA_) April 25, 2019
In the men's long jump, Manyonga will line up as the favourite, joining a small Eastern Province Athletics (EPA) squad which also features defending men's 200m champion Luxolo Adams.
Zarck Visser, who is expected to give Manyonga a fight in the long jump (with World Championships medallist Ruswahl Samaai now absent from the start lists), will spearhead the Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) team alongside shot putter Orazio Cremona and rising sprint star, Tamzin Thomas.
Simon Magakwe (Western Province Athletics) leads another exciting contest when he goes in search of his eighth national title in the men's 100m event, with a battle on the line against Emile Erasmus (AGN), and in-form distance runner Elroy Gelant (ACNW) is chasing a 5 000m/10 000m double in an anticipated tussle with road star Stephen Mokoka (AGN).
African champion Victor Hogan (Boland Athletics) is the firm favourite in the men's discus throw and Dom Scott-Efurd (WPA) lines up against Kesa Molotsane (AFS) in the women's 5 000m race.
African News Agency (ANA)