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South Africa names 27 for Moscow 2013, without Caster Semenya

Athletics South Africa logo
Athletics South Africa (ASA) logo

has selected a team of 27 athletes to participate at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Moscow, Russia from 10-18 August 2013.

The team of 21 track & field athletes, four marathoners and two race walkers, includes 14 athletes who have met the IAAF A-Standard for the track & field programme.

Heading the track & field team is former world indoor long jump champion and Olympic silver medallist, Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, currently ranked 6th in the world for this year. His younger compatriot and SA Long Jump Champion, Zark Visser, is ranked 7th. Lynique Prinsloo, ranked 10th in the world in the women’s long jump, will make her debut at the World Championships.

As has become customary, a full compliment of men’s 400m Hurdlers have met the A-standard, with 2011 finalists LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks being joined by PC Beneke.

Anneri Ebersohn was chosen over club-mate Wenda Nel Theron in the women’s 400m Hurdles as Ebersohn is the reigning SA Champion. With both having only  achieved the B standard, only one of them could be included. Same also in the men’s Shot put, where Orazio Cremona, the national champion, got the nod over Jaco Engelbrecht.

Sprint sensation and double gold medallist is selected for the 100m and 200m with new talent, Akani Simbine, who set a new national junior 100m record in December last year, selected for the former. Unfortunately, African 100m Champion Simon Magakwe was not available for selection due to injury.

Others in the team include: Andre Olivier for the 800m, with national record holders Johan Cronje (1500m), Willem Coertzen (Decathlon), Lehann Fourie (110m Hurdles), Chris Harmse (Hammer Throw) and Sunette Viljoen (Javelin Throw).

African Champion, Victor Hogan (Discus) and national 400m champion, Wade van Niekerk, complete the athletes who have achieved the A-qualifying standard.

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World Student Games gold medallist Stephen Mokoka is selected with his B-standard in the 10 000m, joining Elroy Gelant (5000m), Robert Oosthuizen (Javelin Throw) and Justine Palframan (200m) in the team.

The men’s marathon team includes former New York Marathon winner and multiple national record-holder, Hendrick Ramaala. With Stephen Mokoka deciding to concentrate on the 10 000m, Ramaala is the second fastest during the qualifying period. He is joined by Lusapho April and Sibusiso Nzima.

Tanith Maxwell is the only one left after withdrawals in the women’s marathon team.

Two race walkers, Olympian Marc Mundell and Lebogang Shange, will take part in the 50km and 20km events respectively.

Semenya misses-out

However former World 800m Champion from Berlin 2009 and Olympic silver medallist, will not be at the 2013 world championships after she ran out of time.

Semenya, 22,  needed 2:00.00 or better to match the A-standard time and at least 2:01.50 to squeeze into the team by July 29th via a B-standard time, but running in Belgium on Saturday (July 27th), she missed qualifying for by 0.36 seconds.

The South African won her Flanders Cup race in Ninove in 2:01:86, after earlier clocking 2:06.58 to win her debut season opener on July 18, 2013 at the Finnish Lathi Games.

Because Semenya is such a big-name drawing card in international athletics, , ASA president, contacted the IAAF to find out if there was any possibility that she might still be allowed to run in Moscow.

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According to Evans the IAAF was very sympathetic to his request but, unfortunately, rules are rules.

“I understand and accept the IAAF’s viewpoint. If they should make an exception for Caster where do they draw the line?”

“Personally I expect that quite a few of our athletes will improve on their best performance for the season or on their personal best and that will be great. But, having said this, I am confident that at least one or two of our athletes will win medals. Remember that once an athlete has qualified for a final, anything is possible.”

Late withdrawals

During the past week three athletes had to withdraw from the national team for various reasons.

Cornelia Joubert, SA women’s marathon national champion and new road running revelation, will not be able to compete at the World Championships because of an administrative blunder. She qualified this year in June by running a time of 2 hours 39 minutes at the Orange Marathon in Mauritius.

It has now come to light that the Mauritius Marathon is not recognized by the IAAF as a qualifier for the World Championships, which means in effect that Joubert has not qualified.

The mistake was made by an official of ASA who did not first ascertain which of the marathons were qualifying ones before putting Joubert’s name forward for selection.

Evans is quite upset about this:

“This should never have happened. Athletics should always be about what is best for the athlete,” said Evans.

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“It is totally unacceptable that an athlete should find out at such short notice that she will not be able to compete at a World Championship because somebody did not do his job properly.

“As president of ASA I can only sincerely apologize to Cornelia.

“We will try to compensate by arranging for Cornelia to compete in one of the top international marathons next year. I have spoken to her coach and we will do our best to make up for our error. It must never, ever, happen again.”

Irvette van Zyl will also not be able to compete in the women’s marathon at the World Championship. After undergoing a fitness test last week it was decided that it would be unwise for her to compete because the risk of aggravating her knee-injury would be just too big.

Lehann Fourie, SA 110 hurdles record holder and Olympic finalist, tore his ankle ligaments last week in a freak accident in Paris. He announced on Monday that he will not be able to compete in Moscow.

Juan van Deventer (injured), BurgerLambrechts and Rene Kalmer were unavailable for selection.

(Additional info Source: Athletics SA)

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