Semenya makes team for World Champs

Semenya makes team for World Champs

South African athletics poster girl Caster Semenya has been included in the provisional line-up for the mixed relay at the World Cross Country Championships.

Semenya, a multiple Olympic and world champion in the 800m, is among 27 athletes named by Athletics South Africa (ASA) to represent the country in Australia on 18 February.

Semenya will join rising 800m and 1500m SA champion Prudence Sekgodiso, Tembisa Street Mile champion Ryan Mphahlele and SA 800m champion Tshepo Tshite in the relay.

Semenya failed to qualify for the World Championships in the USA in the 5000m and 10 000m last year and will now compete in a world tournament for the first time since 2017.

ASA President James Moloi is delighted Semenya will fly the SA flag at the World Championships in 2023.

“Semenya is a big athlete and commands a lot of respect from the other athletes. Her presence alone motivates other athletes to do well. She is a role model and champion. We are excited to see her back,” Moloi told SABC Sport. 

The national athletics body has named 27 athletes for the five events of mixed relay 8km, U-20 6km, senior men and women 10km and open women 8km.

Moloi is optimistic about the chances of the athletes in the team and hopes one or two of them can make it to the podium.

“We put out the strongest team possible. It’s a mix of youth and experience. Look at the experience of marathoner Elroy Gelant, Precious Mashele, and the rising stars Maxime Chaumenton, Adriaan Wildschutt, and Mathews Leeto,” Moloi claimed. 

Former SA cross country champion Kesa Molotsane leads a group of talented runners including Glenrose Xaba and promising stars Cacisile Sosibo, Cian Oldknow and Kyla Jacobs.

The team includes six athletes in the U20 men and six in the U20 women.

By Charles Baloyi