Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 143, July 2021 July 2020 - Page 21



Team SA

This is the full South African athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics .
100m : Akani Simbine , Gift Leotlela , Shaun Maswanganyi 200m : Clarence Munyai , Anaso Jobodwana 400m : Wayde van Niekerk , Thapelo Phora 5000m : Precious Mashele 110mh : Antonio Alkana 400mh : Sokwakhana Zazini Long Jump : Cheswill Johnson , Ruswahl Samaai Javelin : Rocco van Rooyen Shot Put : Jason van Rooyen , Kyle Blignaut Marathon : Stephen Mokoka , Desmond Mokgobu , Elroy Gelant 20km Race Walk : Wayne Snyman , Lebogang Shange 50km Race Walk : Marc Mundell 4x100m Relay : Akani Simbine , Clarence Munyai , Gift Leotlela , Shaun Maswanganyi , Chederick van Wyk , Galaletsang Ramorwa 4x400m Relay : Pieter Conradie , Ranti Dikgale , Oscar Mavundla , Derrick Mokaleng , Zakithi Nene , Lythe Pillay
Caster Semenya
Women :
400mh : Wenda Nel 5000m / 10,000m : Dominique Scott Marathon : Gerda Steyn , Irvette van Zyl Javelin : Jo-Ane van Dyk
These four medals and exciting results made South African athletics fans feel that the future looked very bright indeed , and the next few years delivered more promise . In the men ’ s long jump , Ruswahl Samaai went from finishing ninth in Rio to earning the bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships in London , behind Luvo ’ s gold medal performance . At those same World Champs , Wayde defended his 400m title from 2015 ( Beijing ), and Akani was once again fifth in the 100m final . Then at the 2019 World Champs in Doha , Akani came agonisingly close to a medal in Doha , finishing fourth in the 100m , and Stephen Mokoka finished fifth in the marathon . Add to that the explosion of young sprinters in recent years , and prospects for 2020 really looked exciting .
But where do we stand now ? Do we have realistic medal hopes in Tokyo ? After all , Luvo is out of the picture after being served with a four-year ban for whereabouts failures in relation to doping tests . Even before his ban , he was struggling , looking out of sorts as he finished fourth at the 2019 World Champs in Doha . ( Ruswahl finished fifth , one place further back .) Also out of the picture is Caster , prevented from running the 800m due to World Athletics ’ controversial DSD ( Differences in Sex Development ) ruling , which prevents female athletes with abnormally high ( albeit natural ) levels of testosterone from competing in events from 400m to the mile .
Caster therefore attempted to qualify for the 5000m , but did not hit the 15:10 target , whereas another DSD athlete barred from the 800m , Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi , did manage to qualify in the 5000m . She is unlikely to medal in Tokyo , given that her best is 14:54.38 compared to the sub-14:30s run by the main contenders , but should she threaten to medal , then the World Athletics ( WA ) ruling on DSD athletes could well be changed to include the 5000m . ( On a related note , two names that will be absent from the women ’ s 400m in Tokyo are Namibia ’ s Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi . Both are 18 and have shown huge