Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
SEMENYA TO LEAD SA CHARGE ON GLOBAL CIRCUIT
South Africa will be well represented on the global circuit this weekend, spearheaded by 800m specialist Caster Semenya, as a group of 14 South African athletes prepare to compete at three international meetings over the next few days.
On Friday night, LJ van Zyl and Nolene Conrad will turn out at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, which forms part of the IAAF World Challenge series.
Van Zyl set a season’s best of 49.13 seconds at the Shanghai Diamond League last week, and he will look to go even quicker in the men’s 400m hurdles event.
Conrad, who clocked a national best of 6:34.72 in the rarely contested 2 000m steeplechase event at a permit meeting in Rehlingen on Monday, lines up in the flat 3 000m race in Ostrava.
In Morocco on Sunday, six SA athletes will turn out at the third leg of the Diamond League series in Rabat, as the top flight campaign stops on African soil for the first time.
In-form Olympic silver medallist Semenya will line up as the favourite in the women’s 800m race after winning the two-lap contest in a world leading time of 1:58.26 at the Diamond League opener in Doha earlier this month.
Another athlete who has shown superb form in the early stages of the season, Ruswahl Samaai, is due to compete in the men’s long jump.
After winning the national title with an impressive 8.34m leap in Stellenbosch last month, Samaai launched his international campaign by taking second place in Shanghai last week, and he will be eager to put up another strong challenge.
Semenya and Samaai will be joined in Rabat by Dumisane Hlaselo, who again targets the Olympic qualifying standard of 3:36.20 in the men’s 1 500m event, having missing the mark by 0.45 on his Diamond League debut in Doha.
The remainder of the SA contingent at the top-flight meeting includes joint national women’s 100m record holder Carina Horn, who turns out in the short dash, World Championships finalist Wenda Nel, who lines up in her specialist 400m hurdles event, and African Games gold medallist Antonio Alkana in the 110m hurdles.
Elsewhere on Sunday, six SA athletes are listed among the entries for another World Challenge meeting at the FBK-Games in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Former national record holder Henricho Bruintjies is in the men’s 100m sprint, versatile distance runner Elroy Gelant will toe the line in the men’s 5 000m race, Rynardt van Rensburg is in the field for the men’s 800m contest, and speedster Alyssa Conley, who stunned Horn to win the SA 100m title last month, turns out in her preferred 200m event.
On the infield, discus throw giant Victor Hogan will hope to gain momentum from his great start to the season after producing a 67.62m personal best at the national championships and taking third place in Doha.
Dylon Cotter, one of six SA long jumpers who have met the Olympic qualifying standard of 8.15m with his 8.16m leap in Johannesburg in February, rounds out the SA entries.
Andre Olivier (800m) and Luvo Manyonga (long jump) had been included in the provisional start lists in Hengelo but were forced to withdraw due to foot and ankle injuries.
Schedule of SA athletes competing this weekend (20-22 May 2016):
World Challenge, Ostrava (Friday):
LJ van Zyl (400m hurdles)
Nolene Conrad (3 000m)
* Live on SuperSport 9 at 5pm
Diamond League, Rabat (Sunday):
Dumisane Hlaselo (1 500m)
Antonio Alkana (110m hurdles)
Ruswahl Samaai (long jump)
Carina Horn (100m)
Caster Semenya (800m)
Wenda Nel (400m hurdles)
* Live on SuperSport 7 at 6pm
World Challenge, Hengelo (Sunday):
Henricho Bruintjies (100m)
Rynardt van Rensburg (800m)
Elroy Gelant (5 000m)
Dylon Cotter (long jump)
Victor Hogan (discus throw)
Alyssa Conley (200m)