ASA sure team will do well in Japan

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

After they disappointed at the IAAF World Championships in Finland in 2005, Athletics South Africa (ASA) have drafted new exciting athletes into their team, hoping for a good run in this year's event.

The 11th edition of the world championships takes place in Osaka, Japan, from August 25 to September 2.

The 28-member ASA squad left for Beijing on Saturday, where they will spend 10 days in preparation for the assignments awaiting them in Osaka.

"The training camp in Beijing will serve two purposes in that it will provide an opportunity for the athletes to acclimatise before their competition in Osaka. At the same time, it will give them a glimpse of the conditions that will prevail next year at the Olympics," said Leonard Chuene, ASA's president.

"We have selected a balanced team that is blended with youth and experience.

"I am more than convinced that athletics has a future in this country considering the number of young athletes who have achieved the required standards to be in the team. This also bodes well for our preparations for the Olympics."

Young athletes in the squad include sprint sensations Nombulelo Mkenku and Kagisho Kumbane, who will be making their debut in the world event.

Poppy Mlambo, Tanith Maxwell, Norman Dlomo, George Mofokeng, Bethuel Netshifhefhe, Zongamele Dyubeni and Christiaan Krone are also among the debutantes.

But the South Africans should be encouraged that world-class athletes such as Hendrick Ramaala and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi have been included in the squad and chances are high that they can bring medals back home.

The squad is:

Men - Sherwin Vries (100m, 4x100m), Morne Nagel (200m, 4x100m), Krone (200m, 4x100m), Shaun Bownes (110m hurdles), Alwyn Myburgh (400m hurdles), Pieter de Villiers (400m hurdles), Louis J van Zyl (400m hurdles), Mulaudzi (800m), Ruben Ramolefi (3000m), Khotso Mokoena (long jump), Robert Oosthuizen (javelin), Gerhardus Pienaar (javelin), Chris Harmse (hammer), Ramaala (marathon), Dlomo (marathon), Mofokeng (marathon), Netshifhefhe (marathon), Dyubeni (marathon), Kumbane (4x100m), Leigh Julius (4x100m), Snyman Prinsloo (4x100m).

Women - Mkenku (100m), Geraldine Pillay (200m), Janice Josephs (long jump), Karin Mey (long jump), Tebogo Masehla (steeplechase), Mlambo (marathon), Maxwell (marathon).