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Athletics

Caster Semenya confirmed for international debut at 5,000m

David Isaacson Sports reporter
Caster Semenya and Dominique Scott during the 5,000m at the SA championships in Cape Town in April.
Caster Semenya and Dominique Scott during the 5,000m at the SA championships in Cape Town in April.
Image: Esa Alexander

Athletics SA (ASA) has confirmed that Caster Semenya will compete in her first 5,000m international assignment at the African championships in Mauritius from June 8 to 12. 

The final team of 89 that was named this week does not feature any of SA’s US-based contingent, some of whom will compete at the same time at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Oregon, the host city of the world championships in July. 

Semenya and Kyla Jacobs will represent SA in the women’s 5,000m, with national champion Dominique Scott, one of the American contingent, not in the line-up. 

This will be the first time Semenya, the former two-time Olympic 800m champion, will compete for SA since the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. World Athletics’ gender eligibility rules, requiring her to take hormonal treatment to compete in events from the 400m to the 1,500m, were implemented in 2019.

Semenya, refusing to take the medication, has moved up in distance to the 5,000m, where she is trying to achieve the 15min 10.00sec qualifying standard for the world championships.

Her best so far is 15:31.50, the 25th fastest time on the continent this year.  

Prudence Sekgodiso, who qualified for the continental showpiece in both the 800m and 1,500m, will compete in only the two-lap race, where she holds the 1:58.41 world lead. 

Veteran sprinter Henricho Bruintjies, the second SA man to dip below 10 seconds, has been drafted into the team for the 100m and 4x100m relay. 

The relay team has yet to secure qualification for the world championships, although they’re now lying in the final 16th spot, thanks to the 38.51 the men’s under-20 team ran at the junior world championships last year.  

Akani Simbine will attempt to defend his African 100m crown, although he will race a tough challenge from new Kenyan star Ferdinand Omanyala. 

SA, with 47 women and 42 men, will compete in every event at the African championships except the men’s 5,000m.  

The team is:

Men: Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies, (100m); Emile Erasmus (4x100m); Sinesipho Dambile, Clarence Munyai, Benjamin Richardson (200m); Zakithi Nene, Tumisang Shezi, Gardeo Isaacs (400m/4x400m), Tshepo Tshite, Jabulane Ncamane, Kabelo Mohlosi (800m); Ryan Mphahlele (1,500m); Mbuleli Mathanga, Elroy Gelant (10,000m); Antonio Alkana, Ruan de Vries, Rivaldo Roberts (110m hurdles); Soks Zanini, Sabelo Dhlamini, Le Roux Hamman (400m hurdles/4x400m); 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, Cian de Villiers (shot put); Victor Hogan, Werner Visser (discus); Alan Cumming, Tshepang Makhethe, Renaldo Frechou (hammer throw); Johann Grobler, Phil-Mar van Rensburg, Hernu van Vuuren (javelin); Marcell de Jager, Jesse Perez (decathlon). 

Women: Carina Horn, Phindile Khubheka, Tamzin Thomas (100m/4x100m); Banele Shebang, Thomas, Mirande Coetzee (200m/4x100m); Deline Mpiti, Precious Molepo, Marlie Viljoen (400m/4x400m); Prudence Sekgodiso, Gena Lofstrand, Marli Dimond (800m); Carina Viljoen, Danielle Verster (1,500m); 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); Yolandi Stander, Riette Heyns, Zonica Lindeque (discus); Leandri Geel, Marga Cumming, Marinda Greyling (hammer throw); Jo-Ane van Dyk, Mckyla van der Westhuizen, Jana van Schalkwyk (javelin); Shannon Verster (heptathlon).

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