South Africa will boast quality and depth this weekend when they take on powerhouse nations at the inaugural World Cup in Athletics at London, England.
While some athletes are unavailable for various reasons, with Caster Semenya competing at the IAAF Diamond League in Rabat on Friday night, Akani Simbine and Clarence Munyai recovering from injuries, and Henricho Bruintjies experiencing visa issues, the SA team will be confident of their chances.
WPA's Antonio Alkana, African 110m Hurdles record holder will be competing on Saturday at 20:39, while Munyai has been replaced in the final team by in-form national 200m champion Luxolo Adams for the half-lap contest.
Simbine's spot in the 100m Men race will be taken by one of the relay athletes, with team management able to choose between WPA's former SA record holder Simon Magakwe and Roscoe Engel.
Semenya's place in the 800m Women race will be taken by Gena Lofstrand and her spot in the 1 500m goes to Carina Viljoen, with Dom Scott-Efurd having already committed to the Rabat Diamond League.
The final national team also features the likes of Long Jump world champion Luvo Manyonga, experienced triple jumper Khotso Mokoena, Olympic Javelin Throw silver medallist Sunette Viljoen and sprinter Carina Horn, who will captain the side.
The lucrative World Cup event, being held on Saturday and Sunday, will see South Africa taking on the United States, China, France, Germany, Jamaica, Poland and hosts Great Britain. With each nation limited to one athlete per discipline, straight finals will be contested, and a points system will be used to determine the final standings.
“Despite the permitted absence and injuries to some of the athletes, we still have a fairly strong and competitive team to dish out what we are made of. Caster is competing for top honours at the end of the Diamond League. For that reasons she was allowed to go to Rabat, Morocco instead of the World Cup, but we hope she will be available for the Relays to assist the our SA Team,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
Picture Credit: Roger Sedres