Se­menya lead SA’s chal­lenge

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

SOUTH AFRICA will be look­ing to re­tain the con­ti­nen­tal crown at the African Cham­pi­onships in As­aba, Nige­ria next week.

The coun­try has de­vel­oped into a pow­er­house on the con­ti­nent, fin­ish­ing at the top of the medals ta­ble for two con­sec­u­tive years.

Ath­let­ics SA (ASA) have se­lected a strong team for the cham­pi­onships, spear­headed by world cham­pi­ons Caster Se­menya and Luvo Many­onga.

The team fea­tures a host of stal­warts like quadra­ge­nar­ian ham­mer thrower Chris Harmse, Olympic sil­ver medal­lists Sunette Viljoen and Khotso Mokoena.

Se­menya will be look­ing to con­tinue her global dom­i­nance in the 800 me­tres while she will also back into the blocks in the one-lap sprint.

At the pre­vi­ous cham­pi­onships in Durban, Se­menya won the 800m, 1500m and the 4x400m re­lay ti­tles.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons like Viljoen and women’s 400m hur­dles ace Wenda Nel may be out of form but even at their worst, they should be the best in their re­spec­tive events.

Hor­i­zon­tal jumps leg­end Khotso Mokoena is on a mis­sion to prove that age is just a num­ber as he looks to add a seventh medal at the cham­pi­onships.

The Olympic long-jump sil­ver medal­list has won the African ti­tle in both the long and triple jump events.

He has fin­ished sec­ond in the long jump on two oc­ca­sions and also boasts triple jump sil­ver and bronze medals.

Mokoena will be go­ing to the Nige­rian cham­pi­onships hop­ing to win his sec­ond ti­tle in the hop-skip-and-jump event.

“For me the goal is to get the ti­tle, I feel I am the best in Africa right now and just have to prove it,” Mokoena said.

South African 100m record holder Akani Sim­bine is hell­bent on be­ing crowned the fastest man on the con­ti­nent. Two years ago a fa­tigued Sim­bine fin­ished third in the 100m Durban but his cur­rent form sug­gests he could win the event.

He clocked a sea­son’s best 9.93 sec­onds at the re­cent Di­a­mond League meet­ing in Lon­don.

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