Asaba 2018: Caster Semenya To Lead Team South Africa
South African middle-distance star Caster Semenya has been named among athletes that will compete for the Rainbow nation at the 2018 CAA African Senior Championships in Asaba, Nigeria between August 1-5.
The squad features several athletes that won medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, including sprinters Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies, Long Jump stars Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai.
Also, middle-distance star Caster Semenya, hurdler Wenda Nel and Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen are all on the roster.
The biennial continental championships will be another opportunity for South Africa to defend its continental crown won in 2016 in Durban with a total of 33 medals, 16 of them in gold.
South Africa finished as the best African team at the concluded 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, with 13 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals, and emerged overall 6th.
Kenya followed in second position with 24 total, with eight in gold.
This year’s hosts, Nigeria ended with four gold medals from a total of 16.
Also read: 2018 CWG: Nigeria Finishes 9th
South Africa will utilise the occasion as another medium to provide athletes with crucial experience in the build-up to next year's IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
While the squad includes up to seven athletes in individual disciplines, it will be reduced when the event gets closer, as only three athletes are allowed per participating nation in each discipline.
“This is the squad that is meant to be finalised in due course to produce a best and formidable team that will defend the titles won in Morocco in 2014 and Durban in 2016.” An official of the Athletics Federation in South Africa explained.
Aside from Nigeria who have entered 72 male, 69 female and 29 officials, the likes of Kenya, Algeria, and Senegal are also planning a large contingent for the Athletics Championships in Asaba.