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Team South Africa for Daegu

Athletics SA announce final team to World Championships

Khotso Mokoena for Daegu

Khotso Mokoena for Daegu

Athletics South Africa announced the final team today who would represent the country at the World Championships in Deagu, Korea from 27 August to 4 September.

While the team consists of some of the established names such as Khotso Mokoena, LJ Van Zyl, Caster Semenya and Mbualeni Mulaudzi, there are also some fresh faces, who are quite clearly being groomed for the London Olympics next year and even the Rio Olympics in 2016.

In fact 11 of the 26 track and field athletes will be making their first appearance at the World Championships and will rely heavily on the experience of those who have been through the mill a few times.

Wenda Theron has competed at the World Youth and Junior Championships in 2005 and 2006 but never at a major international Senior Championships. The same can be said for Simone du Toit, although she has finished 6th at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the World Championships is a different level.

Roscoe Engel (4x100m relay), Shane Victor and Willie de Beer (4x400m relay) have also never been exposed to the intimidating arena of a World Championships and neither has World Junior Long Jump Champion, Luvo Manyonga. The latter though has had some success at international meetings with two victories in Finland including his 8.26m. Another youngster who will be wide eyed is Lebogang Moeng. The 21 year-old rocked the South African sprinting scene when won the Yellow Pages SA Junior Championship title in the 200m with a time of 20.58sec.

Engel and Moeng are both in the 4x100m relay team with Moeng also racing in the 200m. The duo will be relying heavily on the like of Simon Magakwe and Thuso Mpuang to quieten any nerves before the race.

At 24 Elroy Gelant is at the start of his career and will take away loads of experience in the 5000m. His 13.25;09 run in Keien, Uden is a B-Qualifier. Gelant has raced on the international circuit and is very aware that he will need to go substantially faster if he is to progress behind the qualifying stages. Steven Mokoka has represented South Africa at international level, but on the roads and cross country – the cauldron of a World Track and Field Championships is a different animal though.

Cornel Fredericks does not come across as a 21 year-old. He seems experienced beyond his years. But this is his first ever World Championships. Despite his 48.14sec PB in the 400m hurdles, he is not a favourite for any sort of medal, which could play into his hands. It is quite clear though that the above crop of athletes will form the backbone of the teams for 2012 and beyond.

Although ranked number one in the World in the 400m hurdles, LJ Van Zyl is not considered the favourite for Gold. The South African record holder came back to South Africa in June after a long season (domestic and international) in which he set the fastest time in the World this year. He also had an unbeaten streak of three races on international soil before finishing 4th in New York. Van Zyl cited fatigue and a slight hamstring niggle as the reason for his performance. Since then the Americans Jeshua Anderson, Bershawn Jackson and Angelo Taylor (2008 Olympic Champion) have all come very close to van Zyl’s time with clockings of 47.93, 47.93 and 47.94sec respectively. On his return to the international arena van Zyl finished 4th at the Diamond League in Monaco with a time of 48.72sec behind Taylor, Jackson and Britain’s David Greene who must also be considered amongst the medal contenders.

Neither Semenya nor Mulaudzi have displayed the same form of 2009 when they won the World Title. But this could be to their advantage as the international contingent may not look to closely at them and thus open the door as happened to Mulaudzi in 2009. Robert Oosthuizen is quality and has finished in the top 5 in all the Diamond League meetings he competed in this year. But he is also one that ASA is looking to for 2012 and beyond.

“We selected all those athletes who fulfilled the qualification criteria,” said ASA President James Evans. “With 11 athletes competing for the first time at this level we are very clearly looking to 2012 and beyond. It is exciting to see this kind of talent at our disposal for the next four years and with an average age of 24 years, this is quite healthy.”


100m Simon Magakwe
Thuso Mpuang
200m Thuso Mpuang
Lebogang Moeng
400m Oscar Pistorius
800m Mbulaeni Mulaudzi
5000m Elroy Gelant
10000m Stephen Mokoka
110mH Lehann Fourie
400mH LJ van Zyl
Cornel Fredericks
Steeplechase Ruben Ramolefi
Long Jump Luvo Manyonga
Khotso Mokoena
Triple Jump Thumelo Thagane
Javelin Throw Robert Oosthuizen
Decathlon Willem Coertzen
4 x 100m relay Simon Magakwe
Thuso Mpuang
Roscoe Engel
Hannes Dreyer
Lebogang Moeng
Gideon Trotter (reserve)
4 x 400m Oscar Pistorius
Ofentse Mogowane
Wille de Beer
Shane Victor
LJ van Zyl
Cornel Fredericks


800m Caster Semenya
400mH Wenda Theron
Javelin Sunette Viljoen
Justine Robbeson
Shot Put Simone du Toit

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