SA athletes target Games spot
Johannesburg - Simon Magakwe is one of eight South African athletes still hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games when the CAA African Senior Championships gets underway in Benin on Wednesday.
Magakwe, who could qualify in both the 100m and 200m, ran the required A-standard six times in the men's 100m during the local athletics season, but missed the 10.18 seconds mark while competing in Europe.
The 27 year-old came close in Praha in the Czech Republic on 11 June, clocking 10.22sec to win the race, but South Africa's Olympic body, SASCOC, set strict criteria for their athletes to qualify once at a domestic meeting and once in an international competition.
Magakwe also needs to run the required 20.50sec in the men's 200m to join Anaso Jobodwana, who recently qualified for the Olympic Games.
Another 200m athlete looking for a ticket to London is Thuso Mpuang.
He succeeded twice locally, but his best result in Europe, was on June 7 in Rhede, Germany, where he won the race in 20.78sec.
Oscar Pistorius has also been struggling to reach the qualifying time for a second time.
After his first qualifier of 45.20sec at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships in March, Pistorius will have to clock another 45.30 or better in order to qualify.
The 25-year-old has already been included in the Paralympic team, but harbours the dream to compete in the able-bodied Olympics.
In the 800m, Andre Olivier will be looking for help from Kenyan athletes David Rudisha and Anthony Chemut to achieve his second qualifying time of 1:45.60.
SA 1500m champion Johan Cronje needs to dip under the 3:35.50 qualifying mark and will rely on the assistance of other African athletes to set a fast time, weather and circumstances permitting in Benin.
South African 3000m steeplechase record holder Ruben Ramolefi needs to finish his race in 8:23.10 in order to qualify for London after he achieved his first qualifying time at the World Championships in Daegu in August where he ran 8:11.50.
The two women still hoping to qualify are Tsholofelo Thipe and Wenda Theron.
Thipe, who qualified twice at domestic level, in both the 200m and 400m, will compete in both events in Benin.
Theron, 400m hurdler, enjoyed one of her best seasons, dipping under the 57sec mark for the first time in her career.
She then reached the 55.50sec qualifying standard on local soil for the first time at the SA Open Championships in Pretoria on May 4, and again the very next day, clocking 55.37sec and 55.36sec respectively.
The Gauteng North athlete then travelled to Europe in order to qualify but clocked times consistently over the 56sec mark.
A total of 50 countries will compete at the 18th edition of the Championships in Benin with just over 800 athletes expected to compete.
The CAA Africa Senior Championships will run from June 27 to July 1.