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Athletics

Caster Semenya gets her first international assignment at 5,000m

Former Olympic 800m queen picked for African champs

David Isaacson Sports reporter
Caster Semenya wins the women’s 3,000m on leg 2 of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on March 23 2022.
Caster Semenya wins the women’s 3,000m on leg 2 of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on March 23 2022.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Caster Semenya has been included in the provisional team for the African championships in Mauritius in early June, but Wayde van Niekerk is the notable omission. 

The 400m world record-holder, who withdrew from the SA championships in Cape Town last month because of a hamstring niggle, didn’t compete during the qualifying window from January 1 to April 23. 

Semenya will compete alongside Dominique Scott and Kyla Jacobs in the 5,000m, where she is still trying to obtain the 5min 10.00sec qualifying time for the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, before the June 26 deadline. 

Van Niekerk, who also needs to qualify for the world event, was expected to start racing in Europe in late May or early June, his agent Peet van Zyl said. 

The continental showpiece, which is scheduled to run from June 8 to 12, will be the first time that Semenya will compete for SA over 5,000m. It is also her first international assignment since the 2018 Commonwealth Games after which World Athletics introduced its new gender eligibility rules.

Semenya, the former two-time Olympic and three-time world 800m champion, is refusing to take testosterone-lowering medication to compete in distances from 400m to 1,500m and has taken her fight to the European Court of Human Rights. 

The SA team of 74 features a range of veterans and youngsters, made up of 38 women and 36 men. The only events in which there are no participants are the men’s 5,000m, women’s 3,000m steeplechase and women’s triple jump. 

Athletes have until Friday to appeal their exclusion or to argue why they shouldn’t be in the team. 

The final team must be submitted to the African body by the end of the week. 

Provisional team:

Men: Akani Simbine, Bradley Nokoana, Neo Mosebi (100m); Sinesipho Dambile, Clarence Munyai, Benjamin Richardson (200m); Zakithi Nene, Tumisang Sheri, Gardeo Isaacs (400m), Tshepo Tshite, Jabulane Ncamane, Kabelo Mohlosi (800m); Ryan Mphahlele, George Kusche (1,500m); Mbuleli Mathanga, Elroy Gelant, Adrian Wildschutt (10,000m); Antonio Alkana, Ruan de Vries, Rivaldo Roberts (110m hurdles); Soks Zanini, Sabelo Dhlamini, Lindukuhle Gora (400m hurdles); Ashley Smith (3,000m steeplechase); Wayne Snyman (20km walk); Mpho Links, Brian Raats (high jump); Valco van Wyk, Elmar Schutte (pole vault); Jovan van Vuuren, Cheswill Johnson (long jump); Lleyton Davids (triple jump); Kyle Blignaut, Burger Lambrechts, Cian de Villiers (shot put). 

Women: Carina Horn, Phindile Khubheka, Tamzin Thomas (100m); Banele Shebang, Thomas, Mirande Coetzee (200m); Deline Mpiti, Precious Molepo, Marlie Viljoen (400m); Prudence Sekgodiso, Gena Lofstrand, Marli Dimond (800m); Sekgodiso, Carina Viljoen, Danielle Verster (1,500m); Dominique Scott, Caster Semenya, Kyla Jacobs (5,000m); Glenrose Xaba, Cian Oldknow, Cacisile Sosibo (10,000m); Marione Fourie, Charlize Eilerd, Marzaan Loots (100m hurdles); Zeney van der Walt, Wenda Nel, Taylon Bieldt (400m hurdles); Marissa Swanepoel (20km walk); Shanese de Klerk, Yvonne Robson, Mia Janse van Rensburg (high jump); Mire Reinstorf, Nicole Janse van Rensburg, Erica Moolman (pole vault); Danielle Nolte, Eljone Kruger, Karmen Fouche (long jump); Ischke Senekal, Dane Roets, Meike Strydom (shot put).

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