A confident and capable ASA national team departed safely from Johannesburg, on Tuesday night to take on the world's best distance runners at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships taking place in Bathurst, Australia on Saturday, 18 February 2023.
South Africa will face 46 other countries at the biennial showpiece, as well as an invited refugee team.
And with full squads lining up from East African distance-running giants Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as other strong teams entering from around the globe, SA athletes will face tough challenges in all five races on the programme.
The national squad will be confident of putting up a fight, however, after arriving in Australia with a team which is packed with both youth and experience.
Their campaign will be kicked off by a mixed relay team led by former Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya.
That race will then be followed by full-strength SA teams turning out in the junior women's and men's races, as well as the senior women's and men's contests.
And they will have sufficient time to acclimatise and prepare for the challenging event.
Two athletes - versatile athlete Elroy Gelant and rising road running star Maxime Chaumeton - left for Australia on Monday, and the rest of the squad departed on Tuesday, giving all athletes at least two full days to rest and prepare.
In the senior men's race, Gelant and Chaumeton will be well backed by the likes of Precious Mashele and Mbuleli Mathanga, while the senior women's team is spearheaded by experienced campaigners Glenrose Xaba and Kesa Molotsane.
World Cross Country Championships programme, Saturday 18 February (SA times):
6.30am - mixed relay (4x2km)
7.10am - U20 women (6km)
7.50am - U20 men (8km)
8.30am - senior women (10km)
9.30am - senior men (10km).