Wayde van Niekerk (Photo by Roger Sedres/ASA)
Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Tuesday announced a large National Preparation Squad for the 2022 season.
The squad includes 58 men and 18 women athletes.
The men’s contingent is spearheaded by the likes of sprint stars Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine, experienced long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and marathon runner Stephen Mokoka.
The women’s side features former Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, 400m hurdler Wenda Nel, long-distance runner Gerda Steyn, and javelin ace Sunette Viljoen.
Semenya features on the list although she is currently restricted from racing middle-distances at international level.
Viljoen recently signed for the Titans women’s cricket team but was active on the track and field circuit in 2021.
The squad also includes some of South Africa’s most promising young athletes.
“Firstly, the board of ASA congratulates you for being named in the National Preparation Squad. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Your individual progress paves the way for your future successes and serves as an inspiration for other aspiring athletes. We are confident that by announcing the squad this early, it will make all athletes even hungrier to succeed,” ASA president, James Moloi, said in a statement.
ASA added that the athletes and their coaches will be invited to attend an Elite Athletes and Coaches’ Meeting in Kempton Park on 22 January.
“This meeting will give athletes and coaches an opportunity to address the national federation and gain a better understanding of ASA’s plans in the build-up to the 2022 season, which includes the World Athletics Championships in Eugene and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” ASA said in the statement.