Top athletes will flex their muscles in Pietermaritzburg


On your marks, ready, go!

There are some mouth-watering items waiting for athletics fans at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) national championship in Pietermaritzburg.

Stars such as Akani Simbine, Wayde van Niekerk and Marioné Fourie will throw everything into the battle from Thursday to Sunday to stand on the highest step of the South African athletics podium.

The 30-year-old Simbine will compete against rising stars such as Cheswill Johnson and Gift Leotlela in the 100 m race.

The flash from Central Gauteng broke the South African record over 150 m in February after a spectacular 15.04 s at his Curro Classic Shootout event at Pilditch.

A month later he was behind Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo in a 200 m duel in Johannesburg.

The 20-year-old Tebogo covered the distance in 19.94 s, with Simbine second with his time of 20.32 s.

However, the defending 100m champion (he won the event last year in 10.14s after running 9.98s in the heats) was edged out to defend his title.

“I’m next in action at the national championship and want to do a good job there. I’m going to run the 100 m,” said Simbine.

Then Wayde van Niekerk will line up at the start of the 200 m.

The world record holder over 400 m will compete in the colors of the Boland and he will face Clarence Munyai and Sinesipho Dambile, among others.

A serious knee injury earlier threatened to derail Van Niekerk’s athletics career, but thanks to his perseverance and hard work he is back on the international stage.

He ran a 400 m time of 44.08 s in Poland last year, but he ended up finishing seventh at the World Championships in Budapest.

In the women’s division, Marioné Fourie, Jo-Ané van Dyk and Alicia Khunou can shine in the spotlight.

Fourie is the national record holder in the 100 m hurdles event after she set a time of 12.55 s in Switzerland last year.

She has previously told RNews that she works very hard to be among the leading international athletes in her event and success at the national championship is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

For her part, Van Dyk is also on fire with a top throw of 60.80 m at the African Games in Ghana, while the 17-year-old Khunou is one of South Africa’s brightest athletics stars.

In 2023, she not only collected the gold medal in the discus event with her great effort of 49.53 m at the Commonwealth Youth Games, but also improved the record in the shot put event to 17.97 m.

The championship is from Thursday to Sunday and the action is broadcast on SuperSport.