SA fi­nally tar­get re­lay suc­cess

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCK­ERT VIL­LIERS DE

ATH­LET­ICS South Africa yes­ter­day un­veiled a po­tent 33-mem­ber pro­vi­sional re­lay prepa­ra­tion squad brim­ming with po­ten­tial with an eye on the IAAF World Re­lays in the Ba­hamas and the World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don later this year.

The coun­try’s top sprint­ing tal­ent in­clud­ing Olympic gold medal­ists Wayde van Niek­erk and Caster Se­menya have been named in the squad that will be look­ing to qual­ify men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400m re­lay teams.

The World Re­lays will also in­clude 4x200, 4x400, and 4x800m re­lays but ASA did not men­tion whether it had plans to en­ter teams in those events.

South Africa could field com­pet­i­tive teams in these dis­ci­plines that would stand re­al­is­tic chances of bag­ging medals in the Ba­hamas.

South Africa boasts some in­sane tal­ent over the 100m dash, spear­headed by SA record holder Akani Sim­bine and world 400m record holder Van Niek­erk.

Add na­tional 100m cham­pion Hen­ri­cho Bru­in­tjies and SA 200m record holder Anaso Jo­bod­wana, and you have prospec­tive medal­ists.

South Africa can field an even more po­tent men’s 4x200 re­lay team that could in­clude Van Niek­erk, Jo­bod­wana, Sim­bine and the two ju­niors who fea­tured at the Rio Olympics, Gift Leotlela and Clarence Mun­yai.

The mixed event will make its de­but at se­nior level af­ter it was first staged at the 2015 World Youth Cham­pi­onships in Cali, Colom­bia, where South Africa won sil­ver courtesy of a ex­haust­ing fi­nal-leg ef­fort from Kyle Ap­pel.

South Africa could again en­ter an ex­cit­ing team that could in­clude na­tional 400m hur­dles record holder LJ van Zyl, Van Niek­erk, Se­menya and top women’s one-lap hur­dler Wenda Nel.

This would all of course be de­pen­dent on whether South Africa qual­ify teams for the global show­piece and if the ath­letes were avail­able to par­tic­i­pate.

ASA had ear­marked the One-Hour Elite Meet­ings to qual­ify teams for the Ba­hamas show­piece, while it also planned two lo­cal train­ing camps.

Should ASA suc­ceed in its plans to send teams to the World Re­lays, the coun­try’s top sprint­ing tal­ent will not be rac­ing at the SA Se­nior Track and Field Cham­pi­onships in Potchef­stroom which are sched­uled on the same week­end in April.

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