Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER LEFT BEHIND
The national team took a knock ahead of the World Cross Country Championships after top junior athlete Ikageng Gaorekwe was left behind due to visa issues.
Gaorekwe, who won the SA trials in Kagiso in January, was expected to spearhead the Under-19 men’s squad at the biennial showpiece in Guiyang, China on Saturday.
“He does not have parents and the people who look after him needed affidavits to secure his visa, as he is a minor. They were unable to do this in time,” said Athletics SA administrator Pieter de Jager.
The majority of the squad left on Wednesday, though Rowhaldo Ratz, who finished second in the junior men’s race at the trials, left on Thursday after also experiencing issues with his visa.
Ratz was due to arrive in Guiyang on the eve of the event.
Aleck Skhosana, the ASA president, said the situation was out of their control, insisting the process had not been started too late.
While there were two non-travelling reserves in each of the four categories, the federation did not have time to call up a replacement for Gaorekwe after it was revealed this week he would not be allowed into China.
“We could not do anything about this issue (with Gaorekwe) as the process is controlled by another country which has its own requirements,” Skhosana said.
“One thing we will consider in future is the possibility of reserve athletes applying for visas, so if someone can’t make the trip we have other options.”
While the senior men’s and women’s teams and the junior women’s squad consisted of six athletes each, the junior men’s contingent was reduced to five without Gaorekwe.
They would still be able to compete for the team prize, however, with the first four athletes to count.
SA team, World Cross Country Championships:
Senior men (12km): Precious Mashele, Stephen Mokoka, Gladwin Mzazi, Kgosi Tsosane, Shadrack Hoff, Bonginkosi Zwane
Senior women (8km): Nolene Conrad, Annie Bothma, Lebo Phalula, Keneilwe Sesing, Mamphielo Sibanda, Lorraine Novela
Junior men (8km): Rowhaldo Ratz, Creel Chavalala, Kabelo Melamu, Siyabonga Mabena, William Potgieter
Junior women (6km): Nicole van der Merwe, Hanli Etsebeth, Simone Weitz, Carina Viljoen, Jeanette Bokadi, Sheriline Gelderblom