JOHANNESBURG - A 20-strong South African contingent has been selected for the African team that will compete at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on September 8/9.
Caster Semenya is expected to be one of the continent’s major medal prospects after she was selected for the 400, 800 and 4x400m relay. Defending men’s 400m hurdles champion Cornel Fredericks will get a rare opportunity to defend a title. He is one of only three SA athletes to have won individual Continental Cup titles.
Pole vault legend Okkert Brits and two-time world high jump champion Hestrie Cloete won gold at Athens 2006. World 400m record holder Wayde van Niekerk won gold as part of a 4x400 relay team four years ago.
Each team enters two athletes per individual event, which is limited to one from any one country, and a team for each relay. Teams from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific compete against each other at the Continental Cup, which is hosted every four years.
The event will be held for the fourth time since it was first hosted in Joburg in 1998 and is the successor to the IAAF World Cup. The winners of their respective individual events at the recent African championships in Nigeria automatically booked their places.
There was no place for world long jump champion Luvo Manyonga, second to compatriot Ruswahl Samaa at the African champs. Horizontal jumps star Khotso Mokoena will have a chance to upgrade his silver in the triple jump from four years ago after finishing second in Nigeria.
African champion and SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine will back in the blocks in the blue riband event in Ostrava. SA’s relay quartet of Simbine, Emile Erasmus, Simon Magakwe and Henricho Bruintjies will represent the continent in the 4x100m.
The foursome won the African title in 38.25 seconds, just 0.01sec short of the national record set this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. African 200m champion Ncincilili Titi has also been included in the 4x100 relay team while one-lap sprinter Thapelo Phora was selected for the 400 and 4x400m relay. The ever-improving Ischke Senekal will also have a busy time at the meeting as she is set to be involved in the shot put and discus throw.
South Africans in Team African
Caster Semenya (400m, 800m, 4x400m), Rikenette Steenkamp (100m hurdles), Zinzi Chabangu (triple jump), Ischke Senekal (shot put, discus throw), Jo-Ane van Dyk (javelin throw), Akani Simbine (100m, 4x100m); Ncincilili Titi (200m, 4x100m); Thapelo Phora (400m, 4x400m); Antonio Alkana (110m hurdles); Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles); Chris Moleya (high jump); Valco van Wyk (pole vault); Ruswahl Samaai (long jump); Khotso Mokoena (triple jump); Victor Hogan (discus throw); Tshepang Makhethe (hammer throw); Phil-Mar van Rensburg (javelin throw); Simon Magakwe (4x100m); Henricho Bruintjies (4x100m); Emile Erasmus (4x100m)