Rising middle distance athlete Samson Ngoepe plans to use the African Senior Track and Field Championships in Ethiopia to sharpen himself up for the Beijing Olympics.
The event will take place in the capital Addis Ababa from April 30 to May 4. Ngoepe is in the 66-member South African team to East Africa.
The 23-year-old Ngoepe is one of the South African athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics in China in August.
Ngoepe is crediting world number one 800m athlete Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, for helping him better his personal best to 1 min:45,49secs to enable him to qualify for the Olympics.
Born and bred in GaMatlala in Limpopo, Ngoepe qualified during the Yellow Pages Series in Germiston last month where he finished second behind Mulaudzi.
"It feels great to be in the team to the African championships. The plan is to use them to gauge my readiness for the Olympics," said Ngoepe.
"After being eliminated in the semifinals at the All Africa Games in Algeria last year, I feel I will get a medal this time round.
"The colour is not important, that will be good for my preparations for the Olympics where I really want to do well.
"I will also be going to Europe to take part in some of the high-profile meetings to gain more experience competing against the best in the world.
"My coach Charl Naude and ASA have been wonderful in terms of helping me to prepare for the Olympics."
The final team to Ethiopia is:
Hannes Dreyer (AGN) 100m, 200m, 4x100m; Kagisho Kumbane (AFS) 100m, 200m 4x100m; Thuso Mpaung (AFS) 200m; Sergio Mullins (KZNA) 200m, 4x100m; Corne du Plessis (CGA) 200m, 4x100m; Ofentse Mogawane (AGN), 400m; Pieter Smith (AGN) 400m; Sibusiso Sishi (KZNA) 400m; Mbualeni Mulaudzi (CGA) 800m; Samson Ngoepe (CGA) 800m; Juan van Deventer (CGA) 1500m; Johan Cronje (AFS) 1500m; Boy Soke(AFS) 5000m; Siyabonga Nkonde (KZNA) 10000m; Janko Kotze (CGA) 110m hurdles; Hennie Kotze (AGN) 110m hurdles; Ter de Villiers (AGN) 400m hurdles; Alwyn Myburgh (AVT) 400m hurdles; Okkert Cilliers (ACNW) 400m hurdles; Ruben Ramolefi (CGA) 3000m steeplechase; Tshamano Setone (CGA) 3000m steeplechase; Thami Hlatswayo (AGN) 20km walk; Marc Mundell (AGN) 20km walk; Werner Appel (ACNW) 20km walk; Hubert de Beer (AGN) high jump; Ramsay Carelse (WPA) high jump; Khotso Mokoena (CGA) long jump; Keenan Watson (BOLA) long jump; Yaw Fosu-Amoah (AGN) long jump; Tumelo Thagane (ANCW) triple jump; Ross Jordaan (BOLA) shot put; Janus Robberts (BOLA) shot put; Roelie Potgieter (AGN) shot put; Hannes Hopley (CGA) discus; Chris Harmse (AFS) hammer; Robert Oosthuizen (BOLA) javelin; Willem Coertzen (ACNW) decathlon.
Geraldine Pillay (WPA) 100m; Isabel le Roux (AGN) 100m/200m; Estie Wittstock (AGN) 100m/200m; Tsholofelo Thipe (ANWN) 400m; Tihanna Vorster (AGN) 400m; Lebo Phalula (CGA) 800m; Lebogang Phalula (CGA) 800m/1500m; Rene Kalmer (CGA) 1500m; Xintle Xiniwe(WPA) 5000m; Christine Ras (CGA) 100m hurdles; Janet Wienand (ACNW) 400m hurdles; Tebogo Masehla (CGA) 3000m steeplechase; Ruzanne Harris (BOLA) 20km walk; Michelle Hopkins (CGA) 20km walk; Nomsa Buthelezi (CGA) 20km walk; Anika Smit (ACNW) high jump; Marizca Gertenbach (AFS) high jump; Marcoleen Pretorius (AVT) high jump; Eva Thornton(EPA) pole vault; Deone Joubert (CGA) pole vault; Lindi Roux (BOLA) pole vault; Anice Josephs (BOLA) long jump; Simone du Toit (ACNW) shot put; Veronica Abrahamse (KZNA) shot put; Elizna Naude (AGN) discus; Marizette Badenhorst (AFS) hammer; Karin le Roux (BOLA) hammer throw; Justine Robbeson (ACNW) javelin; Sunette Viljoen (ACNW) javelin
Team Managers - Kakata Maponyane (head of delegation); Wilfred Daniels - team manager. Team Coaches: Ekkart Arbeit (head coach); Magda Botha (sprints); Angus Pohl (jumps); Terseus Liebenberg (throws); JP van der Merwe (middle & long distance). Physiotherapists: Michael Mabasa; Tumelo Komane and Maaki Ramagole (team doctor).