ANALYSIS: What Team SA did wrong
How Team SA fared in Beijing
If one removes Wayde van Niekerk’s 400m gold medal and Anaso Jobodwana’s 200m bronze from the equation, Team SA has underachieved at the IAAF World Championships.
We can only pin our hopes on javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen to add to the medal tally in her final this afternoon.
Things did not seem right from the beginning and, for that, one needs to understand the financial position of Athletics SA (ASA).
That the team only arrived three days before the men’s 100m (first round), men’s marathon and 10 000m finals on the first day of the competition was a recipe for failure.
The team certainly needed a pretournament camp to adapt to conditions, considering the six-hour time difference between South Africa and Beijing.
The 4x100m relay team stumbling in the heats and failing to finish their race yesterday brought to light the results of poor planning by the ASA.
It also raised the issue of poor communications between the association and the athletes.
The 4x100m team was entered into the competition. But the athletes confirmed yesterday that they only knew when they got to Beijing that they were going to run in the relay.
The ASA also tried to enter the 4x400m relay team when they were already in Beijing, but they couldn’t put together a decent group.
Jobodwana (200m); Akani Simbine (100m and 200m); Henricho Bruintjies (100m); and Antonio Alkana (100m hurdles) came to the championships focused only on their individual events.
They only got to train as a team the day before yesterday’s 4x100m heats.
Jobodwana was still recovering from running the 200m final in which he won bronze in a national record time of 19.87 seconds on Thursday.
The US-based sprinter said he sent messages to the ASA on two occasions to enquire if there was a relay team for the championships, but he did not get any answers until he arrived in Beijing.
Jobodwana had also asked in vain to be scratched from the 100m, which he had to run or face expulsion from the rest of the competition. He decided on a false start.
Paging through the champions’ team manual, it’s clear Team SA officials did not exercise the option of the competition rules that countries can withdraw athletes by 9am the day before they compete. This could have cost us a medal.
Jobodwana told City Press his false start in the 100m had tweaked his groin but “thanks to the good physio we had”, he was fit to run a medal-winning time in the 200m final. This was his target in Beijing, because he had just returned from injury.
Yes, he did run a qualifying time to be included for the 100m, but he never ran enough races this season to be entered for this event. The ASA could have checked with his coach first before entering him.
In future, administrators with sound performancemanagement skills should be considered to manage the team instead of board members.
Hopefully, all these mistakes will serve as good lessons and not to be repeated at the 2017 World Championships in London.
Wayde van Niekerk (400m gold medallist, NR*); Anaso Jobodwana (100m DQ*, 200m bronze medallist, NR*); Akani Simbine (100m finalist, 200m semifinalist); Henricho Bruintjies (100m semifinalist); Berend Koekemoer (400m first round); Carina Horn (100m semifinalist); Justine Palframan (400m first round; 200m semifinalist)
Caster Semenya (800m semifinalist); Reynard van Rensburg (800m first round); Stephen Mokoka (10 000m, 20th out of 23); Johan Cronje (1 500m semifinalist)
Khotso Mokoena, Zarck Visser, Rushwahl Samaai (all long jump first round); and Khotso Mokoena (triple jump finalist)
Wenda Nel (400m hurdles finalist); LJ van Zyl (400m hurdles semifinalist); Antonio Alkana (110m hurdles first round); Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles, DNS*)
Victor Hogan (discus first round); Jaco Engelbrecht, Orazio Cremona (both shot put first round); Rocco van Rooyen (javelin first round)
Willem Coertzen (decathlon DNF*)
Desmond Mokgobu (42nd out of 41 finishers); Sibusiso Nzima, Benedict Moeng (both DNF*)
Lebogang Shange (20km walk 11th out of 50 finishers, NR*); Marc Mundell (50km walk, 33rd out of 38 finishers)
* – disqualified * – national record * – Did not finish * – Did not start
ILL-PREPARED From left: Antonio Alkana, Henricho Bruintjies, Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine were not ready for the 4x100m relay