Gearing up for berlin

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Athletics South Africa is aware of the importance of the IAAF World Championships and the national body is pulling out all the stops to adequately prepare the athletes for the event in Berlin, Germany in August.

ASA's training programme is based at the famed High Performance Centre in Tshwane where their athletes are hard at training.

The session started on Monday and ends on Friday.

Beijing Olympics silver medallist, long jumper Khotso "Crocodile" Mokoena, hurdler Louis "LJ" van Zyl, new sprint sensation Simon Magakwe and middle-distance runner Caster Semenya are among elite athletes attending the training camp.

Magakwe's name is on the lips of many an athletics fan after the 23-year-old from Carletonville pulled off an outstanding performance at the recent SA Senior Championships in Stellenbosch.

He came there as a relative unknown, but he surprised all and sundry when he won the 100m event in 10,21 seconds to secure a ticket to Berlin.

Attempts to speak to some of the athletes drew a blank yesterday as they were busy training.

This is the third camp this year and another one will be held next month.

"We are using the camp to test athletes after recovering from the senior champs," Molatelo "Lati" Malehopo, ASA's general manager, said yesterday.

"The same tests will be compared to last year's to ensure athletes' progress.

"Tests include scientific tests and field tests which involve running 30 and 60m, 300m twice and bounding over time.

"We are happy with the way our preparations have been going."

Meanwhile, more than 74 coaches from around the country attended the coaches symposium hosted by ASA in Tshwane at the weekend.

The symposium was aimed at preparing athletes for the first Youth Olympic Games next year.

"The symposium was a success and I'm happy that our coaches had time to attend it," said Leonard Chuene, ASA's president, yesterday.