Cape Town - Six South African athletes, including some of the country's leading medal contenders, will open the national team's campaign on Friday’s Day 1 of competition at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Up first, are long jump stars Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai who are expected to progress beyond the qualifying round without too much trouble, as they go in search of a place in the men’s final.
Manyonga, who will defend the world title he won at the 2017 version of the championship in London, will compete in Group A, while Samaai - who secured a podium double for Team SA by bagging bronze in the English capital two years ago - will turn out in Group B.
The fastest men in SA will be the first members of the team to compete on the track, with national record holder Akani Simbine, 20-year-old prospect Thando Dlodlo and experienced campaigner and national champion Simon Magakwe lining up in the 100m heats to fight for semi-final spots.
Last up on the day, is national 400m hurdles champion Lindsay Hanekom who will hope to build on his fine season form, with the specialist aiming to progress from the first-round heats for a place in the semi-finals.
“It’s now or never for the athletes in competition at this 17th edition of the World Champs,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
“A good start will inspire the rest of the team, so a lot is on the shoulders of the athletes in contest on the opening day.”
SA athletes - Day 1 schedule:
All times SA
Men's long jump, qualifiers (Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai) - 13:30
Men's 100m, heats (Akani Simbine, Thando Dlodlo, Simon Magakwe) - 17:05
Men's 400m hurdles, heats (Lindsay Hanekom) - 19:43