Simbine, Van Niekerk head ASA senior champs

Sparks set to fly at Msunduzi Athletics Stadium this week

16 April 2024 - 08:48
By Sowetan Reporter
Wayde van Niekerk is expected to light up the track this week.
Image: Shaun Botterill Wayde van Niekerk is expected to light up the track this week.

Akani Simbine and Wayde van Niekerk are expected to light up the track, amid tight battles at the ASA senior track and field, combined events and relay championships which will be held at Msunduzi Athletics Stadium in Pietermaritzburg from Thursday to Sunday.

In the sprints, SA's fastest men will need to be on their toes if they want to step on the podium, and all eyes will be on Simbine and Van Niekerk. For the 100m crown, the entry lists are packed, headlined by national record holder Simbine, who lines up in the colours of Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA).

He will face the likes of junior teammate Neo Modibe and versatile athlete Cheswill Johnson (also CGA), as well as a strong contingent from Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) including Gift Leotlela, Thembo Monareng and
18-year-old prospect Bayanda Walaza.

A strong challenge is also expected from a powerful Athletics Central North West (ACNW) team spearheaded by Benjamin Richardson and Bradley Nkoana.

Simbine has already shown his class on the domestic circuit this year, setting a national 150m best of 15.04 seconds at the Backtrack Classic Shootout in Tshwane in February, and clocking 20.32 to take second place behind Botswana's Letsile Tebogo in a rare appearance over the 200m distance at the third leg of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series in Johannesburg last month.

Gearing up for his first 100m race of the year at the ASA Senior Championships, Simbine said he was focused on retaining his national title before starting his build-up to the Paris Olympics on the international circuit. 

Over the 200m distance, Van Niekerk will need to find his top gear if he hopes to clinch gold for Boland Athletics (BOLA). His opponents include SA 200m record holder Clarence Munyai, Sinesipho Dambile and Walaza, who will all turn up for AGN.