Van Niekerk not sure if he will take part in events

Excitement as SA athletes prepare for championships

FILE IMAGE: Wayde van Niekerk, Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine 200m sprint in the 2nd leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium, Roodepoort, Johannesburg.
FILE IMAGE: Wayde van Niekerk, Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine 200m sprint in the 2nd leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium, Roodepoort, Johannesburg.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Although Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana described the track and field events across the country as abnormal due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in two weeks could produce fireworks.

Wayde van Niekerk is finding form at the right time and that is good news for Team SA ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in July.

The Olympic 400m record holder outrun his friend Akani Simbine at the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by Avanti at the Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort on Tuesday. Van Niekerk clocked 20.10 to win the 200m final in a strong field on a cold and rainy day.

Simbine secured second place in 20.29 and surprisingly, Matsoso Tsebo came third in 20.28 in a thrilling race. Celebrated Botswana superstar Isaac Makwala finished in fifth place in 20.59. 2015 100m world championship bronze medalist Anaso Jobodwana finished in a disappointing sixth place with 20.74 seconds in an eight men's event.

“I was happy that I could come here and run and that we brought some excitement to the SA running community. For us, it is a test to see where we are in training. I am excited for the year ahead and the SA champs coming in two weeks.

"I am happy with my run and coming out. It is always great to run against Wayde, Isaac, and Anaso," said Simbine, who clocked 9.99 to win the Athletics Gauteng North provincial championships at the University of Pretoria last week.

Van Niekerk said he would compete in the SA championship if his move to the US is not finalised yet. “I am happy to win this race. Whichever comes first I will take it. If I am still here by the time the SA championship starts, I will run. However, if I will be in America, I will miss it. I feel good and in great shape," said Van Niekerk.

About 3,500 athletes will compete in the SA championships where the cream of the crop in the sport will gather at the spiritual home of athletics in Pretoria in two weeks.

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