SA elite gear up for Speed Series opener

Updated: February 27, 2017

Anaso Jobodwana will compete in the men’s 100m race in Durban

Sprinters and distance runners will lead the show in Durban on Tuesday night, as the top-flight domestic track and field season gets under way with the first of four legs in the ASA Speed Series.
Former World Championships 200m bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana will spearhead the men’s 100m line-up.
Jobodwana will have a chance to showcase his early-season form after struggling with injury throughout the 2016 campaign, and crashing out in the heats at the Rio Olympics in his only race last season.
Jobodwana is up against a field which also features African Championships relay gold medallist Emile Erasmus, who displayed solid form in the recent European indoor season by setting a personal best of 6.69 seconds in the 60m dash.
In the women’s 200m event, US speedster Taylor Monae Evans, who recently married Jobodwana, will make her debut on SA soil.
The former NCAA Division 1 semifinalist will enter the blocks as the favourite in the half-lap contest.
Over longer distances, Elroy Gelant and Irvette van Zyl are expected to lead the charge as athletes aim to capitalise on the coastal meeting by qualifying for the IAAF World Championships in London in August, while others hope to impress selectors ahead of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala next month.
Gelant, the national 5 000m record holder and Olympic finalist, will face the likes of Lesotho athlete Namakoe Nkhasi, as well as local challengers David Manja, Joel Mmone and Precious Mashele in the men’s 10 000m contest.
In the women’s 5 000m race, marathon runner Van Zyl will hope to prove she still has the speed to crack it on the track, and her strongest challenge should come from fellow road specialist Lebogang Phalula.
The meeting also includes an elite women’s 400m race, with World Student Games champion Justine Palframan lining up as the favourite, as well as men’s 400m and 1 500m contests.
The pre-programme at Kings Park Athletics Stadium includes youth and sub-youth medley relay races for boys and girls, and the main programme is scheduled to start at 7pm.