Semenya lead SA’s challenge
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.