Johannesburg - Despite South Africa losing its top continental ranking to Kenya, Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana believes a strong foundation was laid at the recently concluded African Senior Athletics Championships.
Team SA amassed the most medals, but the east African nation came out tops by winning more gold.
“There must be a strong team for the future when we are long gone,” said Skhosana after South Africa’s second-place finish at the continental track and field competition, which ended in Asaba, Nigeria, last weekend.
“We fused three teams together - those who are at their prime, as well as some of the junior and youth athletes.”
Among the team’s youngsters who brought home medals were 18-year-old pole vaulter Valco van Wyk (silver) and Zinzi Chabangu (21) triple jump silver. Kylie Blignaut (19) took bronze in shot put, Werner Visser (20) managed a silver in discus and Luxolo Adams (22) won bronze in the 200m.
Seasoned sprinter Simon Magakwe (32) won the 100m bronze and a gold as part of the 4x100m relay team.
“Obviously, we had targeted more medals to do better than the 33 we won at the same event in Durban (two years ago),” said Skhosana.
“The emphasis, however, was on the inclusion of junior and youth athletes.”
He said he was now waiting for the Confederation of African Athletics to confirm the team that would represent the continent at the International Association of Athletics Federations Continental Cup in the Czech Republic next month.
Selection will be based on the finishes during the Asaba continental championships.
Double champion Caster Semenya is expected to make Team Africa after she claimed the 400m and 800m titles in Nigeria.
In Ostrava, Africa will face teams from Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Each continent will be represented by two athletes or one relay team in every event.