Semenya off to Africa Champs

2012-05-30 12:23

Cape Town - Caster Semenya, along with 75 other athletes, has been selected to represent South Africa at the CAA Africa Senior Championships in Porto Novo, Benin from June 27 to July 1, 2012.

Semenya, the 2011 World Championships 800m silver medallist, has already qualified for the London Olympic Games and needs to compete at the Championships as part of the selection criteria agreed on with SASCOC.

On April 5, Semenya broke the two minute barrier for the first time on South African soil since Zelda Pretorius ran 1:58.85 in 1991, clocking 1:59.60, her best this season. Semenya has only represented South Africa at one Africa Championships in 2009 as junior athlete in Bambous, Mauritius. 

Also in the team is World Championship 400m hurdles bronze medallist, LJ van Zyl. The 26-year-old from Gauteng North became the first track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games.  Van Zyl will be looking to win his fourth straight African title in Benin after winning in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

2008 Olympic silver medallist, Khotso Mokoena, will also be looking at defending his title at the Africa Championships in the men’s long jump. After losing his national title in windy conditions in Port Elizabeth, Mokoena bounced back and reached the Olympic Qualifying A-standard at the Yellow Pages III meeting in Pretoria on April 20 with a leap of 8.29m. Mokoena recently competed at the Diamond League in Doha, finishing second with 8.10m.

Sunette Viljoen currently holds the Africa and South African record in the women’s javelin throw and has also qualified for the Olympic Games. The 29-year-old will be competing at her fifth Africa Championships this year and with her brilliant track record (gold in 2004, 2008, 2010 and silver in 2006). The reigning champion won bronze in Daegu at the World Championships in September 2011 with 68.38m. Her best this season is 61.84m in Ostrava.