Wade van Niekerk in the spotlight at SA Champs
While spectators will be disappointed by the absence of the country’s most accomplished athletics star, Caster Semenyathere will be plenty of action to keep them entertained at the South Australian Athletics Championships starting in Potchefstroom on Thursday, with the 400m world record holder. Wade van Niekerk returning to the spotlight.
After posting his best form in five years last season with a fifth-place finish at the Eugene World Championships and a lap time of 44.33 seconds, Van Niekerk will be looking to prove he can return to his best form as he continues to hone his skills. . returned from a serious knee injury.
30 year old sprinter at the start of the 2023 campaign, he is not expected to come close to his world best of 43.03 points, but good results will indicate that he has fully recovered from his career-threatening injury.
Another former Olympic and world champion from South Africa, Semenya, will be absent from the squad this week.
It was expected that Semenya would take part in the women’s 5000m, but the spread of an international rule restricting athletes with a difference in sexual development pushed her away from the domestic athletics spectacle with a new World athletics comes into force on Saturday – on the same day the 5000 m race will take place.
In her absence, Semenya’s training partner Glenrose Xaba would be the favorite for the 5,000m/10,000m double.
Other athletes to watch at the three-day national championships include South African 100m record holders Akani Simbine and Karina Horn, who will look to cement their national dominance in the sport’s flagship event, while Luxolo Adams will strive to break the course for 200 m. sprint
Elroy Gelant will need to do his best to hold back some rising stars in the men’s 5000m, as will Ruswal Samai in the long jump, and shot put giant Kyle Blino is looking to flaunt some early form ahead of the international season.
Sokwahana Zazini and Zeni van der Walt are expected to excel in the 400m hurdles, while rising star Prudence Sekgodiso is confident of taking double gold in the women’s 800m and 1500m finals.