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SA squad do it for Africa

By Mark Etheridge

Fourteen South Africans will do battle for their continent in this weekend’s IAAF/VTB Continental Cup in Split, Croatia.

Four teams, including many of the world’s leading track and field lights, will fight it out for the spoils — Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe.

And the spoils are not to be sniffed with victory in any one of the 36 individual events being rewarded with a cash prize of $30,000. The four relay events carry the same reward, although obviously to be spread among the four members.

The Africa team is 85-strong and the South African contingent is made up of 11 men and just three women — Sunette Viljoen, Elizna Naude and Estie Wittstock. All three competed at the recent African championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

Naude, reigning Commonwealth and African champions discus champion says the travel to Split was a long one. “Everything is fine, it was just very difficult journey to get here. We flew from Jhb to Dubai, Dubai to Vienna, Vienna to Zagreb and Zagreb to Split. We started traveling Wednesday from Johannesburg at 10pm and only arrived at the hotel at 11.30pm the next day. So I’m very tired but luckily have the whole day to rest and recover.”

Naude says she’s over the troublesome groin injury that was troubling her in Kenya. “The body feels much better, still a few niggles but no injuries as such.”

She’s got a season’s best of 64.49 metres but isn’t honestly expecting to throw that sort of distance. “This is just a warm-up meeting for the Commonwealth Games and the competition is very tough so I just want to have a satisifying distance.”

And after the competition? “Split is beautiful so as soon as I’m finished I’m heading off to the sea to swim and then tan on the beach!”

Like Naude a Commonwealth and African champion Viljoen has a season’s best of 66.38m in the javelin but has had a bit of a slump recently. It was reported in the Beeld on Friday that she had been in great pain with a toe injury that has since got much better but she may well still have a pain-numbing injection before she throws.

Our third runner in action this weekend will be Estie Wittstock who goes off in the 200-metre race and her coach, Morne Nagel went on record this week as saying she could go close to her personal best of 23.30sec.

In the men’s competition, Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena is back in action after winning the African championship and LJ Van Zyl will be looking for a confidence-boosting run after two recent runs where he failed to break 50sec. The Pretoria athlete is too classy a performer to stay down for long.
Burger Lambrechts lines up in the shot put as African champion and Victor Hogan and Hardus Pienaar (javelin) and Commonwealth bronze medallist Chris Harmse┬á are South Africa’s other competitors in the field events.

South Africa will also field a 4x100m relay team and the squad of six that will vie for places are Hannes Dreyer, US-based Lehann Fourie, Simon Magakwe, Thuso Mpuang and Wilhelm van der Vyver.


4 comments
Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Mogul has explained it correctly. The federations have been held responsible for the selections so they should account according to SASCOC. Ask ASA whether they feel that athletes are good enough for the continental team but not for the Commonwealth.

In-flight
In-flight

Yes we send 14 athletes and again Dr Adams travels first class to Croatia. We could have send another 10 athletes.

Road Mogul
Road Mogul

Indeed all the best to the athletes. However, it I would like to mention that the African Athletics federation selectd 14 athletes from South Africa, while South Africa selected less athletes to represent the Country at the commonwealth Games. SASCOC should look at this as an example and follow it. Will there atleast be a response to the +- 40 comments when the commonwealth team was announced.

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

All the best to the South Africans and the African Team. Which coaches from South Africa made the team with them?