South Africa’s Olympic stars are again expected to lighten up Wednesday night (tomorrow), at Kenneth McArthur Athletics Stadium in Potchefstroom.
In-form sprinter Akani Simbine joins fellow star attractions Rio medallists Caster Semenya and Sunette Viljoen at the third leg of the ASA Speed Series in a Meeting that has attracted top athletes from neighbouring countries.
While there are 100m and 400m races on the programme for Men and Women, the 200m contests have attracted the country’s top speedsters.
Simbine, who clocked 19.95 over the half-lap distance in Pretoria earlier this month to dip under 20 seconds for the first time, will take on SA junior record holder Clarence Munyai, who crossed the line in 20.10* to finish second behind the Olympic 100m finalist at the same Gauteng North League Meeting.
National champion Alyssa Conley will line up in the Women’s 200m dash, as she gears up to defend both short-sprint crowns at the ASA Senior Championships, also set to be held in Potchefstroom next month.
Olympic 800m gold medallist Semenya is the star attraction in the middle-distance events, as she makes a rare appearance in the Women’s 3 000m event.
Semenya is expected to face a tough battle from in-form distance specialist Kesa Molotsane and road runner Mapaseka Makhanya.
Infield, Viljoen is likely to steal the show, with the Olympic Javelin Throw silver medallist and African record holder due to open her campaign as she prepares to go in search of her first global title in London in August.
In other events, national 400m Hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl is up against fellow Olympian Le Roux Hamman and promising teenager Kefilwe Mogawane, while former African Championships Long Jump bronze medallist Lynique Prinsloo will look to make a statement in her season opener in her specialist discipline.
A number of foreign athletes will turn out at the Meeting, with World Championships finalist and former African record holder Isaac Makwala lining up in the Men’s 400m sprint.
Qatar, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique will also be represented in various disciplines, with Botswana confirming participation of its top athletes.
The pre-programme for the penultimate ASA Speed Series 3 Meeting starts at 5pm, and the two-hour main programme begins at 7pm.
Entry fee for spectators is R30. Students with cards and scholars in school uniform will receive free entry.
* SA record subject to standard ratification processes