Athletics South Africa has unveiled a strong 40-member final national team, mixed with a balance of youth and experience to compete at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon between 15-24 July.
The squad of 27 men and 13 women features some of SA's most experienced athletes, including Olympic 100m finalist Akani Simbine, 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, African 110m hurdles record holder Antonio Alkana and former World Championships long jump medallist Ruswahl Samaai.
Showcasing some of the country's most promising elite athletes, the team also includes 10 athletes (25 percent of the squad) who are under the age of 23. They are sprinters Shaun Maswanganyi, Sinesipho Dambile, Lindokuhle Gora, Shirley Nekhubui, Precious Molepo and Gontse Morake, hurdlers Sokwakhana Zazini, Zeney van der Walt and Marione Fourie and middle-distance runner Prudence Sekgodiso.
Six of the athletes in the team - Werner Visser (discus throw), Miranda Coetzee (400m), Ischke Senekal (shot put), Jo-Ane van Dyk (javelin throw), Zazini (400m hurdles) and Van der Walt (400m hurdles) - displayed fine form when winning the continental titles in their respective disciplines at the 22nd CAA African Senior Athletics Championships in Mauritius last month.
In addition, the national squad includes four relay teams, in the men's 4x100m, mixed 4x400m, and men's and women's 4x400m events.
“This is our team of warriors who are going to defend our honour in USA,” said James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa. “We are happy for all of them for qualifying to be in the final team selection. We also congratulate all athletes who made the team, because they really worked hard to meet the required standards.
“It’s an exciting team and beginning of a new era. This is team made of a good head count of 10 athletes under the age of 23 years who are all seeking glory at the biggest athletics stage on earth. Even if we may not be able to predict the end results, but South Africa is going to war against the rest of world for the ultimate glory for the athletics podium.”