Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
14 Mar 2017
6:56 pm

Caster Semenya is back! 3 stars to look out for in Potch

Wesley Botton

South Africa's Olympic darling headlines the third leg of ASA's speed series, which also features a certain Akani Simbine...

Caster Semenya will, interestingly, begin her season in the 3000m. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

A number of Olympic stars have been included in the entry lists released by Athletics South Africa for the third leg of the Speed Series track and field campaign in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night.

The first leg of the series in Durban was hit by strong winds, and the second meeting in Bloemfontein was marred by a faulty timing system.

Making their domestic top-flight season debuts, some of the country’s elite stars will hope all goes smoothly at the penultimate leg.

We take a look at some of the athletes to watch:

Akani Simbine 

Already displaying spectacular form this year, Simbine opened his campaign with a historic double at a provincial league meeting in Pretoria two weeks ago, clocking 9.93 (100m) and 19.95 (200m) to become the first South African to dip under 10 seconds and 20 seconds on the same day.

The Olympic 100m finalist, who holds the SA record of 9.89 in the short sprint, will focus on the half-lap event.

He could have his hands full against junior prospect Clarence Munyai, who grabbed second spot behind Simbine in the 200m race in Pretoria, setting a national Under-20 record of 20.10.

Caster Semenya 

Better known for her performances over 800m, Semenya will make the second appearance of her senior career over the 3 000m distance.

In her only previous race over seven-and-a-half laps, at a Varsity Athletics meeting in Stellenbosch nearly two years ago, she crossed the line in 9:49.85.

Having secured the African 1 500m title last year, the Olympic two-lap champion will need to draw on that endurance to put up a fight in a field led by national cross country champion Kesa Molotsane.

Sunette Viljoen

One of the country’s most consistent athletes at international level in recent years, the Olympic silver medallist will open her campaign on familiar soil.

Targeting her first world title in London in August, after earning two bronze medals at the biennial global championships, Viljoen will hope to make an early impact in the 2017 season.

As has become the norm when she competes at home, Viljoen is not expected to have any real opposition at McArthur Stadium as she looks to send her spear sailing beyond the 60m mark.

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