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ASA finds selection solution

Middle-distance runners Johan Cronje, Andre Olivier and Elroy Gelant have been included in South Africa's final team for the African Athletics Championships, after they were all left out the provisional squad.

Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana confirmed on Tuesday that all three athletes had been drafted into the 38-member team.

“We worked hard with the selectors to solve the dilemma because Cronje, Olivier and Gelant have all been in good form this season,” Skhosana said.

The ASA selection committee had been asked to reassess the provisional team, less than two weeks before the continental event, after the country’s top distance runners were left in the dark, along with a number of junior athletes who met the qualifying criteria.

Skhosana said the federation did not have the resources to send some of the younger members of the squad, but he was satisfied that the country’s top athletes would put up a strong fight for top spot in the medals table.

“We would have liked to send more athletes, but our hands were tied with regards to finances after making every possible attempt to secure the additional resources.

“ASA is confident the team that has been selected will do the country proud.”

Cronje was relieved to be included after showing frustration at the initial snub.

The only South African medallist at last year’s World Championships in Moscow, Cronje hoped to use the men’s 1,500m race at the continental spectacle to prepare for next year’s global championships in Beijing.

“Obviously I would love to get onto the podium at the African Championships, but my big goal at this champs will be to test out a type of tactic that I want to use in next years World Championships,” he said.

“I believe it is going to be very tough, especially from Africa’s side, so I will test a new tactic in Marrakech.”

South African team: Men: Simon Magakwe (100m), Akani Simbine (100m, 200m), Henrico Bruintjies (100m), Wayde van Niekerk (200m, 400m), Ncinci Titi (200m), Andre Olivier (800m), Johan Cronje (1 500m), Elroy Gelant (5 000m), Ruan de Vries (110m hurdles), Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles), LJ van Zyl (400m hurdles), Zarck Visser (long jump), Rushwal Samaai (long jump), Khotso Mokoena (long jump, triple jump), Cheyne Rahme (pole vault), Juan de Swardt (pole vault), Orazio Cremona (shot put), Jaco Engelbrecht (shot put), Victor Hogan (discus throw), Russel Tucker (discus throw), Chris Harmse (hammer throw), Rocco van Rooyen (javelin throw), Robert Oosthuizen (javelin throw), Willem Coertzen (decathlon), Lebogang Shange (20km walk).

Women: Melisa Hewitt (100m, 200m), Justine Palframan (200m, 400m), Rikenette Steenkamp (100m hurdles), Wenda Nel (400m hurdles), Annerie Ebersohn (400m hurdles), Carla Marais (long jump), Bianca Erwee (high jump, heptathlon), Deone Joubert (pole vault), Lezaan Jordaan (shot put), Elizna Naude (discus throw), Nanette Stapelberg (hammer throw), Sunette Viljoen (javelin throw), Corli Swart (20km walk)


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