Thursday, 13 July 2017 18:13

SA shows depth ahead of London

Athletics SA (ASA) yesterday gave indication of track and field hopefuls who have provisionally booked their berths for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships in London next month.

As expected, Rio Olympics medalists - Wayde van Niekerk (400m), Luvo Manyonga (long jump), Caster Semenya (800m) and Sunette Viljoen (javelin) - headline the 22-member preliminary team.

Other athletes with world championships experience such as Akani Simbine (100m) and Khotso Mokoena (long jump) have also made the team, so is rising sprinter Clarence Munyai who is set to debut at the senior global track and field meeting.

Mokoena is among the four jumpers who have qualified but only three will make it to London as per the required quota than can be entered per country in each event.

Other local athletes, meanwhile, have until July 23 to breach the ASA A-qualifying standard, which is tougher than that set by the IAAF.

At most, hopefuls must record their personal best marks in their respective events to stand any chance of making the final team by the cut-off date.

ASA is also crossing fingers to have a relay team at the championships.

The federation is hopeful that the 4x100m men's relay team will make it as one of the eight nations to go with the eight that have already qualified at the World Relays in April.

ASA president Aleck Skhosana has encouraged athletes to work hard to get into the team.

"There is still a chance for anybody who wants to represent South Africa at this global premier event," Skhosana said.

The world championships will be held from August 4 to 13.


Lemao wins SA’s first gold medal

Tshenolo Lemao won South Africa’s first gold medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships (under-18) in Nairobi tonight winning the 100m in 10.57s.

It was a one-two for South Africa in the final as Retshidisitswe Mlenga was second in 10.61s with the pre-race favourite, Tyreke Wilson (Jamaica), third in 10.65s.

“I am definitely over the moon. It was a great race to win,” said the 16-year-old learner from TuksSport High School moments after his victory.

The conditions were far from ideal as it started to rain just before the final. However, Lemao was never going to allow that to get to him. He is a firm believer in controlling the controllable.

“I was excited when I started to settle down in my starting blocks. The only thing I wanted to do was to run. I knew the conditions would be tough, but I told my myself to stay calm and focused.”

According to Lemao, he was motivated after the semifinals as he ran only the third fastest time. He finished second in his semifinal heat running 10.50s.

“Afterwards I told myself to refocus on what matters, and that is to to win a medal for South Africa.”

Before he left for Nairobi Lemao was slightly worried as to how he would perform on the international stage.

“In the 100m I feel at times that I get overexcited, over-concentrating before I race. That leads to me messing up my race.”

Testing himself against the stopwatch was not always Lemao’s first passion. At first, he was an avid hockey and cricket player. At primary school, he earned his provincial colours in hockey, and he used to be a handy fast bowler.

“What I love about sprinting is that you get to test yourself all the time. There is always the question as to how fast you can really run,” said the TuksSport High School learner.

He ascribed his success to hard work.


SA claim two medals at U18 Champs

The South African team opened their campaign in spectacular fashion on Wednesday, securing top spot in the medals table after the first day of competition at the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

Competing in wet conditions, sprinters Tshenolo Lemao and Retshidisitswe Mlenga earned gold and silver respectively in the Boys 100m final.

The duo scooped the nation's first ever medals in a world championship event over the short-sprint distance, with Lemao clocking 10.57, holding off Mlenga by just 0.04. Jamaican speedster Tyreke Wilson settled for bronze in 10.65.

"It feels good to win the first gold of the championship for South Africa," Lemao said afterwards. "I came prepared for the race after finishing second in my semifinal."

Though he had entered the race as the favourite, after clocking the fastest time in the semifinals (10.37), second-placed Mlenga was delighted to step on the podium.

“No disappointment and I have no excuses. They beat me fair and square, and I’m happy I was able to get a medal,” he said.

Both Lemao and Mlenga are scheduled to run the heats of the 200m on Friday.

Infield, Meike Strydom was in the form of her life, producing a personal best heave of 16.40m to finish fifth in the Girls Shot Put final.

In the Girls 3 000m final, Dipuo Mashishi struggled to put up a fight in tough conditions, though she gritted her teeth and pushed hard to take 12th place in 11:06.60.

Sprinters Rose Xeyi (12.18) and Joviale Mbisha (12.27) also displayed good form in the Girls 100m heats, with both athletes progressing to Thursday's semifinals.

In the Boys 800m heats, Ntuthuko Ndimande went out hard but struggled to mount a challenge down the finishing straight. He took fourth position in his race in 1:56.16 and missed out on a place in the final.

Earlier, in the morning session, Tharina van der Walt booked her place in the Girls Discus Throw final, to be held on Friday. She launched a 48.81m heave with her first attempt in the qualifying round, progressing automatically to the medal contest.

"Congratulations to all our young athletes who competed today, especially our new generation of sprinting stars," said Athletics SA President, Aleck Skhosana. "We are proud of their historic achievement. Well done also to all parents who travelled all this way to support their children. We thank the coaches for ensuring they arrived well-prepared."


Saids warns about a hebal supplement

South African athletes have been warned against the use of a specific supplement which contains traces of anabolic steroids.

According to the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids), an independent laboratory analysis of the herbal supplement Biogen Testoforte conducted at the SA Doping Control Laboratory in the Free State revealed the presence of three different anabolic steroids that were not listed on the product label.

"Consumers and athletes alike are cautioned on the use of dietary supplements, including herbal formulations, and products claiming to have testosterone stimulating capacity or other hormone-like effects, even if it claims to do so "naturally" and "safely", i.e. without side effects," Saids stated in an advisory.

"The formulations in these types of products have not been clinically tested to prove their claims of efficacy or safety/side-effects."

Aside from potential health risks, by taking these supplements athletes also stand the risk of testing positive for substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) List of Prohibited Substances, and receiving a ban from the sport.


South Africa Names World Championships Team

A 22-member preliminary team has been announced by Athletics South Africa (ASA) for next month's IAAF World Championships in London, England.

The squad includes all four of the country's Track and Field medallists at last year's Rio Olympic Games in Brazil, with 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, Long Jump athlete Luvo Manyonga, 800m runner Caster Semenya and Javelin Throw’s Sunette Viljoen spearheading the team.

They will be joined by a number of other medal contenders, including in-form sprinter Akani Simbine, Long Jump’s Ruswahl Samaai and Antonio Alkana 110m Hurdles.

Athletes who have not been included in the squad will have until the end of the qualifying window of July

23 to achieve the ASA A-standard in their respective disciplines to book themselves a place in the Final Feam.

The 16th edition of the biennial IAAF World Championships will be held in the English capital from 4-13 August 2017.

“This is the time for athletes who are still searching for a qualifier to show their mettle,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of ASA.

“Work harder and don’t give up. There is still a chance for anybody who want to represent the Rainbow Nation at this global premier event.”

TEAM

MEN

100m: Akani Simbine, Thando Roto

200m: Akani Simbine, Wayde Van Niekerk, Clarence Munyai, Ncilini Titi

400m: Wayde Van Niekerk

Marathon: April Lusapho EPA, Sibusiso Nzima CGA, Desmond Mokgobo CGA

100m H: Antonio Alkana

Long Jump: Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Zarck Visser, Khotso Mokoena

Shot Put: Oratio Cremona, Jaco Engelbrecht

Javelin Throw: Rocco Van Rooyen

WOMEN

100m: Carina Horn

800m: Caster Semenya

Marathon: Mapaseka Makhanya, Jenna Challenor

400m H: Wenda Nel

Javelin Throw: Sunette Viljoen