Mzansi geared up for Youth Olympic Games

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Athletics South Africa is preparing beyond this year's international meetings as the national body is eager to assemble a powerful squad for the first instalment of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore next year.

Preparations for the Games continue in earnest in Windhoek, Namibia, where athletes will compete in the Southern Region Youth Championships on June 13.

The squad is dominated by athletes who have been drafted into the 29-member provisional team selected for the 6th IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, from July 8 to 12.

The athletes who are not in the provisional squad to Italy will use the event in Namibia to convince the selectors for the world youth championships.

The squad was selected after the successful Yellow Pages SA Youth and Junior Championships held in Pretoria in March.

It comprises nine boys and 10 girls. All the athletes in the team achieved ASA's qualifying standards for the world event, while competing at the national championships. Included in the team are exciting young prospects such as Anri Steyn and Justine Palframan, who are already ranked among the best senior women in the 400m.

The boys' team boasts talented sprinters such as Richmond Collins and Mzwandile Quashani.

The final team for Italy will be announced after the Namibia trip.

"The athletes are mindful that they will need to excel at the Southern Region Championships in order to justify their inclusion in the final team," said ASA boss Leonard Chuene.

"They also understand that the opportunities provided are part of a bigger picture to prepare them for the first edition of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games that will be held in Singapore. We are happy with our overall preparations for coming international meetings."