ASA boss confident SA will bag Olympic medals

Simbine, Samaai, Van Niekerk are medal prospects

James Moloi new ASA president during the ASA media briefing at Rosebank Southern Sun in Johannesburg.
James Moloi new ASA president during the ASA media briefing at Rosebank Southern Sun in Johannesburg.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Athletics SA (ASA) boss James Moloi expressed his confidence in the athletes that qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, later this month.

In 2019, the team failed to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. However, there is an air of optimism under the new ASA administration led by Moloi. 

At the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016, SA won 10 medals, and athletics delivered three medals – two gold and one silver medal.

Moloi said they are sending one of the best teams to Japan, and he's confident that they would deliver a top-four finish. About 21 male athletes will compete in individual events and the 4x100m and 4x4000m relays.

However, there is a notable shortage of female representation – only five of them made it into the Olympics. Dominique Scott-Efurd, Irvette van Zyl and Gerda Steyn will lead the female charge. 

SA 100m champion Akani Simbine, African long jump champion Ruswahl Samaai and three-time SA champion Wayde Van Niekerk are medal prospects.

Sprinters Gift Leotlela, Clarence Munyai and Shaun Maswangayi are exciting young talents, but it would be asking too much of them to make the podium.

“We have a great team with talented athletes going to Tokyo. They will deliver, and we have put our trust in them. If we make the top four, we will be happy," said Moloi.

Caster Semenya missed the Olympic train, but ASA will continue her fight against World Athletics.

The 30-year-old had two failed court cases against the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Supreme Court in what has been a protracted battle about her naturally higher level of testosterone. She challenged the European Court of Human Rights. However, her appeal will take place after the Olympics.

“We will fight in Caster's corner until the bitter end. The process is still on, and we have launched an appeal, and the government will help us with her case," said Moloi.

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