Cape Town - With the way the current national fixtures list looks, it appears a very exciting 2018 Athletics domestic and international season lies ahead.
This season will be a key stepping stone in Athletics South Africa's (ASA) preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The ASA Cross Country Trials at the University of Free State in Mangaung on January 20 sets off the season, offering a final selection opportunity to the CAA Africa Cross Country Championships on March 17 in Algeria.
After that, the track and field season goes into full swing with the much awaited inaugural ASA Grand Prix Series on March 1 (Johannesburg), March 8 (Tshwane) and March 22 (Paarl).
The ASA Senior T&F Champs + Combined Events Championships on March 15- 17, was brought forward to allow selected athletes to declare their final fitness and readiness for the 2018 Commonwealth Games (April 4-15).
The ASA calendar sees another first with the maiden IAAF Athletics World Cup on July 13-15 in London, which will see the top eight countries in the world contesting each other.
"To maximise on our potential, South Africa will send a 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams in both men and women to Commonwealth Games and to the World Cup. The ASA Grand Prix will therefore also cater for relays.
"We have put everything into it to make this a bumper season for our domestic fans while systematically laying what we hope will be a solid build-up to the Olympic Games," said Aleck Skhosana, the President of ASA.
At the 2016 Olympics, controversially no South African relay team qualified for the world showpiece in Rio de Janeiro.