South Africa’s small athletics team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games has swelled by seven, with a men’s 4x100m relay quartet, two throwers and a distance runner thrown into the mix.
The much-maligned Athletics South Africa (ASA) selectors managed to increase the track and field complement for the quadrennial showpiece, with the final team being cleared by Sascoc, increasing the size of the track and field squad to a group of 20.
We take a glimpse at the individuals who will boost South Africa’s campaign at the Games, to be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4 to 15.
4x100m relay quartet:
Former national record holder Henricho Bruintjies and 2015 World Championships bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana will join national junior 200m record-holder Clarence Munyai and Emile Erasmus in the sprint relay squad, though Erasmus is currently sidelined by an Achilles injury and it is unclear whether he will be available for the Games. South African 100m record holder Akani Simbine, who was included in the original team, will spearhead one of the most potent relay teams the country has ever assembled
Jaco Engelbrecht (shot put)
One of the strongmen of South African athletics, he will be feeling bullish about his chances of challenging for a medal in Australia. Ranked fifth in the Commonwealth this year with a best heave of 18.77m, the 30-year-old powerhouse will have to get close to his personal best of 20.63m to have a real shot at a podium place
Stephen Mokoka (10 000m)
South African distance king Stephen Mokoka will have another stab at a major track title after being entered for the 25-lap race in his maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games. Mokoka has become more adept on the road in recent years, but he will return to the track to face the East African stars once more
Tshepang Makhete (hammer throw)
Having lived in the shadow of South African hammer throw legend Chris Harmse, Makhete will finally get a chance to etch out his own legacy. He finished eighth at last year’s World Student Games in Taipei with a throw of 69.77m, which was enough to book his place in the team for the Gold Coast Games