June 25, 2024


A number of South African athletes shone at championship events in recent weeks, cementing their places at the top of the national Track and Field rankings in various disciplines.

Middle-distance runner Caster Semenya set two South African Season Bests at the IAAF World Championships in London, England last month, clocking the fastest times of the year to earn gold and bronze over 800m (1:55.16 national record) and 1 500m (4:02.84 in the heats), respectively.

In the 20km Men Walk, Lebogang Shange produced a brave performance at the IAAF Champs to finish fourth in a national record of 1:19:18, while Stephen Mokoka climbed to the top of the SA 10 000m Men rankings by taking 20th place in the final in 28:14.67.

At the World Student Games in Taipei last month, Ischke Senekal also achieved a national 2017 best by launching a 56.04m heave in the qualifying round of the women’s Discus Throw.

At the end of a hard-fought international season, three South African athletes were ranked first in the world this year in their disciplines.

Aside from her 800m performance, Semenya also led the global lists in the 600m event after setting a world best of 1:21.77 over the rarely run distance.

Luvo Manyonga leaped 8.65m to secure the SA title in the Long Jump Men, also topping the global list with a national record.

While Wayde van Niekerk was unable to rattle his own world 400m record of 43.03 set last year, he clocked 43.62 to lead the international rankings over the one-lap distance.

His 300m world best of 30.81 was also the fastest time in the world this year, and his SA record of 19.84 gave him second spot in the 200m event.

Though Ruswahl Samaai had to settle for second position in the SA rankings with a Personal Best of 8.49m in the Long Jump, he also achieved the number 2 position in the international list.

A total of 16 SA Track and Field records and bests were set in the senior, junior and youth age groups during the 2017 season, and after a superb campaign, Athletics South Africa has started its build-up to the 2018 season, which includes the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, and the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

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