A national team delegation of nine top race walkers departed from OR Tambo Airport last night at 8pm on Qatar Airways, arriving in Muscat, Oman at 10am today (SA time).
South Africa's international campaign gets underway on Friday, 4 March and Saturday, 5 Marchat the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships.
On Friday's opening day of competition, junior athletes Janise Nell (Athletics Central North West) and Christiaan Bester (Boland Athletics) will compete in the U-10km women's and men's races in the morning session, and 20-year-old Marissa Swanepoel (ACNW) will turn out in the senior women's 20km event in the afternoon.
On Saturday, SA will not be represented in the 35km races, but a trio of South Africans will look to put up a fight in the senior men's 20km contest. Spearheaded by in-form athlete Wayne Snyman, who will be eager to use his experience to make his presence felt in front of the field, his Athletics Gauteng North teammates Tumisang Pule and Sizwe Ndebele will hope to add enough depth to push them up the results in the men's 20km team competition.
The team is managed by Chriz Britz as Coach and Nthatisi Mokhele as Team Manager.
“We have selected the team according to performance and we trust in them to make us proud as a federation and as a country. It is encouraging to learn that they travelled safely and that the whole camp is in good spirits.
“We would have been happier if we had walkers representing us in the 35km, but since we had no athletes in this category, we hope that this would be a challenge for all of us to address. Nevertheless, their mandate is the same and that is to contest for medals in all categories,” said James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa.
SA schedule, World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships (SA times):
Friday, 4 March:
6am - 10km, U-20 women (Janise Nell)
7.10am - 10km, U-20 men (Christiaan Bester)
2pm - 20km, Women (Marissa Swanepoel)
Saturday, 5 March:
5am - 35km, men and women
2pm - 20km, men (Wayne Snyman, Tumisang Pule, Sizwe Ndebele)