Connect with us

IAAF World Championships

South Africa Ready to Take on the London World Championships with a Hunchback

Usain Bolt is the highlight of the IAAF World Olympics in London this month. Who would dare steal his shine? The Jamaican has always maintained a composure and admirable confidence in his ability to defend his world titles and Olympic gold.

But now it is time to unveil Wayde van Niekerk. Van Niekerk raced into the spotlight in a flash one year ago, and now the South African is being handed down the torch to carry on from where Bolt will leave off – athletics legacy.

There is no forgetting the 25-year-old’s obliteration of USA legendary athlete, Michael Johnson’s record in Rio, live in front of the former sprinter’s eyes.

What Bolt has done, will remain as one of history’s longtime greatest achievement – changing the face of athletics while being inspirational at it.

Niekerk, on the other hand, has proven a formidable force to reckon with and it is changing South Africa’s future on the track. But the future of athletics in South Africa could find its own criteria a cause for worry.

Is Athletics South Africa Getting Ahead of Itself? Africa will have the chance to make history having never won more than two gold medals in the sprinting disciplines at a single World Championship.

South Africa in particular, leads the pack of vicious runners looking to step out from the shadow of middle and long distance races dominated by the continent.

Back home, however, there is growing tension sparking criticism of how Athletics South Africa shortlisted its representatives. Some athletes feel the local athletics federation ‘set unrealistic and higher criteria’.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”IAAF is saying they expect one thing for athletes to come to world champs, what they (ASA) have done is set an unrealistic and higher criterion than IAAF, by almost two seconds faster. They(ASA) are saying you must run 44.9 to make team for 400m, for example; only Wayde van Niekerk has run under 45 seconds,”[/perfectpullquote]

Ashwyn Claasen, one athlete with doubts over attempts to qualify for the event said.

Van Niekerk is the favorite to win the 400m but faces in what could be a monopoly on the podium by Africa, with competition from Clarence Munyai and Akani Simbine for the 200m gold.

200m No.2-ranked Isaac Makwala from Botswana is a more likely dominant problem for Niekerk as the two lead the charge in the event.

For ASA, it is a road to perfection bound by tighter rules in an attempt to take a lot from the podium. The 24-person team for the World Championships omitted 13 athletes because they did not fall under its qualification criteria which are stricter than that of the IAAF.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“We believe this is one of our strongest teams ever selected for the IAAF World Championships, and we are confident they will return home with a bag full of medals,”[/perfectpullquote]

said ASA president Aleck Skhosana.

Van Niekerk who has spoken out before, joined Simbine to voice their opinions for those whose dreams hit a snug.

“It’s all good and well when you want to groom talent but when there’s an opportunity to help the talent grow you shut the door on them‚” tweeted Simbine.

Van Niekerk re-tweeted and added, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Too much talent bro selection should be our last worry. Guys work (too) hard for this type of rejection.”[/perfectpullquote]



Featured Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in IAAF World Championships

Translate »