2024 Mar 12



Athletics Media

Athletics South Africa Office
Athletics Media
2024 Mar 12

Viwe Jingqi will lead South African athletes on Thursday, as they prepare for an onslaught from a powerful international contingent at the first leg of the ASA Grand Prix series, a World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting taking place at NWU McArthur Stadium in Potchefstroom.

In the women's 200m event, all eyes will be on junior star Jingqi, who has already shown good form this year after recovering from injury niggles that hampered her 2023 season.

Jingqi clocked 16.93 seconds to set a new national best over the rarely contested 150m distance at the Backtrack Classic Shootout in Tshwane last month, and the 19 year-old speedster is expected to light up the track in the half-lap sprint at the Grand Prix series opener.

There could also be fireworks in the men's sprints, with 20 year-old Benjamin Richardson - a three-time former medallist at the World Athletics U20 Championships - set to open his 2024 campaign in the 200m event.

In the 400m hurdles, while African champion Zeney Geldenhuys might have it all her way if she can find her top gear, she will have to be at her best in a discipline which has enjoyed significant growth in quality and depth on the domestic circuit in recent years.

Sokwakhana Zazini, also the reigning African champion, will need to be equally competitive in the men's one-lap race over the barriers.

Zazini will line up against a field which includes 20 year-old prospect Ismael Abakar of Qatar, who won the Asian junior title last year.

Visiting international stars will be aiming to dominate the men's and women's 800m races against some of SA's top middle-distance runners.

Kethobogile Haingura of Botswana, who set a personal best of 1:45.53 in Tshwane earlier this month, and Yassine Hethat of Algeria, who holds a career best of 1:44.06, will turn out in the men's two-lap race.

The women's field features the likes of Finland's Veera Mattila, who earned the silver medal at last season's European U23 Championships, and Veronika Sadek, who won the Slovenian national indoor title last month.

Among the field events, Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic will be among the headline acts. Vadlejch, a three-time medallist at the World Athletics Championships, spearheads the entry list in the men's javelin throw.

"The first leg at Potch officially kick-starts our national track and field season to which many of our athletes have been looking forward to,'" said James Moloi the President of Athletics South Africa. "With a quality continent of international athletes tge Grand Prix Series once again promises to be a blockbuster."

The main programme at the ASA Grand Prix meeting in Potchefstroom will be broadcast live from 6pm-8pm on SuperSport Variety 4.

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About Athletics South Africa:
Athletics South Africa (ASA) is the national governing body for the sport of athletics (including Track and Field, Cross Country, Road Running and Race Walking) in South Africa, is a member of World Athletics  and the Confederation of African Athletics.  The association was formed in 1995 and is based in Johannesburg.