South Africa can count on its athletics team
for medals at the World University Games, which officially opened in Gwangju,
South Korea, on Friday.
Team SA got off to a bad start with both the men’s and women’s
football teams losing their opening matches to France and USA, respectively, on
The athletics programme starts on Wednesday and runs until July
And with Akani Simbine currently running the race of his life,
there is a glimmer of hope as it seems nothing will be able to stop the track
and field team from emulating the gold rush feat from the previous global
The 21-year-old Simbine this week clocked a personal best of 9.99
in the 100m to become just the second South African sprinter, after Simon
Magakwe, to breach the 10-second barrier.
Simbine led a South African 1-2 finish with his university
team-mate Henricho Bruintjies at the European Permit meeting in Velenje,
Slovenia, in the middle of the week.
The University of Pretoria (Tuks) pair has run the fastest times
over the 100m this year.
They have been included in a Team SA athletics squad that also
boasts leading female sprinters Justine Palframan (University of Stellenbosch)
and Anneri Ebersohn of Tuks.
Team leader Danie Cornelius said: “Akani is the man to beat in the
100m and 200m, and I will not be surprised if he smashes the SA [100m]
“Henricho, unfortunately, will only run relay as he was injured and
qualified outside the qualification window period [for individual events],”
added Cornelius, who is the athletics manager at Tuks.
Also in the team is 2013 world student half-marathon champion
Gladwin Mzazi from the Tshwane University of Technology.
The athletics team finished second behind hosts Russia at the
previous University Games, accounting for 11 of the 14 medals that Team SA
brought home from Kazan.
This was the same championship where Anaso Jobodwana became the
first man to win the short-sprint double at the Games since Italian Pietro
Mennea won 100m and 200m gold at the 1975 edition in Rome.
This year, South Africa will be represented by 114 athletes in
seven of the 21 sports codes in the programme in South Korea.
The Gwangju City Games end on July 14.