African Senior Athletics Champs, Marrakech, Morocco Team SA’s medal prospects
Akani Simbine Age: 20 Events: 100m, 200m Season best: 10.02 (100m) 20.37 (200m) Many positives came out of Simbine’s maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He missed a berth in the 100m final by a three hundredths of a second after he advanced comfortably in the heats. He clocked a personal best 20.37 in the 200m final prior to anchoring the 4x100m relay team to a new SA record of 38.35 last Saturday.
The fLll sqLad: Simon Magakwe (100m), Henricho Bruintjies (100m), Wayde van Niekerk (200m, 400m), Ncinci Titi (200m), Melissa Hewitt (100m, 200m), Justine Palframan (200m, 400m)
André Olivier Age: 28 Event: 800m
Season best: 1:44.42 Olivier has shown good progress since he defended his national title at the SA Championships in April. He has peaked up well thanks largely to his top-three finish in the six international meetings he ran across the Diamond League and the IAAF World Challenge, which culminated in a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Olivier, who won bronze at the Benin African Championships in 2012, has clocked three sub-1:45 times this year.
The fLll sqLad: Johan Cronje (1 500m), Elroy Gelant (5 000m) HLrdles
Cornel Fredericks Age: 24 Event: 400m hurdles
Season best: 48.42 Fredericks’ gold in Glasgow last week capped a steady progress on the bigger stage. Along with his training partner LJ van Zyl, he steered South Africa to 1-2, where he finished as a runner-up at the 2012 continental championships in Kenya. Fredericks has now displaced Van Zyl as SA’s number one 400m hurdler and he is definitely the one to watch in Morocco, especially now that he has gathered experience competing internationally with the likes of Javier Culson (Puerto Rico), Michael Tinsley and Bershawn Jackson (both US).
The fLll sqLad: Ruan de Vries (110m hurdles); LJ van Zyl, Wenda Nel, Annerie Ebersohn (all 400m hurdles); Rikenette Steenkamp (100m hurdles)
Khotso Mokoena Age: 29 Events: long jump, triple
Season best: 8.02m (long jump), 17.20m (triple jump) Mokoena’s gold at Glasgow last Saturday ended a three-year dry spell. He was the African long jump champion in 2010 and he is well poised for a medal in Morocco, given his newly found form in the triple jump. He last competed in the event as a junior in 2006 until he marked a comeback as the national champion at the SA Championships early this year.
The fLll sqLad: Zarck Visser, Rushwal Samaai, Carla Marais (all long jump); Cheyne Rahme, Deone Joubert, Juan de Swardt (all pole vault); Bianca Erwee (high jump) Throws
SLnette Viljoen Age: 30 Event: Javelin
Season best: 64.77m A champion at the 2010 African Championships, Viljoen is in good shape to reclaim her continental title and bid for her fourth continental career medal. Her silver medal at the Commonwealth Games proved her potential and consistency in an event she has dominated for so long.
The fLll sqLad: Orazio Cremona, Jaco Engelbrecht, Lezaan Jordaan (all shot put); Victor Hogan, Russel Tucker, Elizna Naude (all discus); Chris Harmse, Nanette Stapelberg (both hammer); Rocco van Rooyen, Robert Oosthuizen (both javelin)