Breyton Poole competes in the High Jump during the 2018 Athletic South Africa Championship at Tuks Stadium in March. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – A 61-member national team of in-form youth athletes and experienced junior stars has been announced by Athletics SA (ASA) for the 2019 African Under-18 Youth and Under-20 Junior Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on April 16 to 20.

The junior team, which includes 14 men and 12 women, will be spearheaded by world junior 400m hurdles champion Sokwakhana Zazini, high jump sensation Breyton Poole and Youth Olympics 100m champion Luke Davids.

The youth team, which features 16 boys and 19 girls, includes pole vaulter Kyle Rademeyer and versatile thrower Dane Roets, who both set SA Under-18 records at the Twizza ASA Under-18 and Under-20 Track and Field Championships in Paarl last month.

Other athletes in the youth team who are expected to lead the charge include middle-distance runners Prudence Sekgodiso and Carmie Prinsloo, who both finished in the top-30 in the junior women's race at the recent IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, and hammer throw prospect Phethisang Makhethe.

While the Under-18 and Under-20 age groups will be combined for the first time at the continental championships, the SA team will again be looking to challenge for top spot in the medals table after finishing second behind Ethiopia at the CAA African Under-20 Championships in Tlemcen in 2017.

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“The mandate of the team is to conquer Africa,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of ASA. “They must fight to the finish because it will be very tough out there. Africa has emerging and amazing talent at this level that is all going out for the title. 

We are aiming for it, but so is every other country in the competition. We tell them to go out there to enjoy themselves, but to keep their focus on why South Africa is sending them there.” 

African News Agency (ANA)