Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
ASA announces national relay squad
Revealing the latest part of its four-year plan in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Athletics South Africa announced a 33-member national relay squad on Monday.
While the federation had been criticised in recent years for not giving relay athletes sufficient opportunities to qualify and prepare for major events, ASA said the squad would be given multiple chances to compete on the domestic circuit this season with the launch of the ASA One Hour Elite Comp series.
The progress of the squad would be monitored at the World Relays event in Bahamas in April, and again at the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
“This preparation squad, along with the senior and junior squads previously announced, will play an important role in athlete preparation for major events over the next four years, and they will be regularly monitored and updated,” said ASA president Aleck Skhosana.
“With the improvement we have seen in sprinting over the last few seasons, we will aim to ensure that we have full-strength teams competing at international level, in order to bring back glory for our country.”
World and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, who formed part of the team that won 4x100m relay gold at the African Championships last year after clocking a 100m career best of 9.98 earlier in the season, was included in a strong men’s squad for the short sprint event. He was joined by the likes of Olympic 100m finalist Akani Simbine, former national 100m record holder Henricho Bruintjies and World Championships 200m bronze medallist Anano Jobodwana.
Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, who set a 400m personal best of 50.40 at the Diamond league meeting in Brussels last season, would spearhead the women’s 4x400m squad.
National 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl was named as the most senior member of a young men’s 4x400m group, while joint SA 100m record holder Carina Horn and resurgent speedster Alyssa Conley would lead the women’s 4x100m squad.
The most notable omission was Tsholofelo Thipe, who competed in the 400m event at the Rio Olympics last year after clocking the second fastest time (51.96) behind Semenya in the 2016 national women’s one-lap rankings.
SA relay squad:
4x100m: Wayde van Niekerk, Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies, Gift Leotlela, Emile Erasmus, Anaso Jobodwana, Clarence Munyai, Samkelo Sebela
4x400m: LJ van Zyl, Shaun de Jager, Jon Seeliger, Rantie Dikgale, Thapelo Phora, Barend Koekemoer, Pieter Conradie, Cornel Fredericks, Ashley Hlungwane
4x100m: Carina Horn, Alyssa Conley, Tebogo Mamathu, Tamzin Thomas, Wenda Nel, Cherese Jones, Maryke Brits, Madia Ehlers
4x400m: Caster Semenya, Justine Palframan, Wenda Nel, Zoe Engler, Jeanelle Griesel, Rorisang Ramonnye, Soandri Meyer, Sonja van der Merwe