ASA Senior Track and Field Championships: Women’s Preview

Dominique Scott in Western Province colours (Gallo Images)

The 2018 ASA Senior Track and Field Championships kicks off at the Bestmed Tuks Athletics Stadium in Pretoria tomorrow, and by the looks of it, spectators are in to witness multiple head-to-head battles as the rainbow nation’s top female athletes fight for national glory.

With Caster Semenya and Dominique Scott-Efurd finally heading to the same venue to compete, the battle for the gold medal in the women’s 1500m is a race not to be missed. Semenya broke new ground last week when she set a new South African 1000m record (2min35sec), but a few weeks before that Scott-Efurd also broke two national indoor records- 3000m (8min41sec) and 1500m (4min07sec). Caster’s form in the 1000m suggests she is capable of running a very fast 1500m, but the same can be said about Dominique who was the only athlete courageous enough to go out fast against Semenya two years ago in Stellenbosch. This time around both women head to the capital city with more experience, so no games will be played when Scott lines up with goals of dethroning Semenya.

The 100m and 200m sprints, meanwhile, are to provide interesting encounters for podium positions. We haven’t seen or heard much about the defending champion, Alyssa Conley, this season due to injury, hence athletes like Cassidy Williamson have gained some popularity. The 2016 world junior championships representative, Williamson, gave her compatriots early warning signs when she won the USN 150m Classic Shootout in 17.42 seconds well ahead of Zeney van der Walt who finished second in 18.11 seconds. She also went under 11.50 seconds (in the 100m) more than twice this year, making her one of the athletes to look out for this weekend. But Tebogo Mamathu, the 2017 100m silver medalist, won’t make things easy for Williamson. With one major victory- the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series 100m race- to her name, the University of Pretoria High Performance Centre based athlete will look go even faster on her training grounds. ‘I know I am capable of running faster times, I just need to stay focused while racing,’ said Mamathu to Tuks Sport. Mamathu, though, will have to outwit Carina Horn if she wishes to exchange last year’s silver medal for gold. One thing is for certain: Horn is in the best form of her life, so it won’t be easy. She has been going about her business very quietly, but she will go down in the history books as one of the most coveted female sprinters in South Africa. First she equaled Evette de Klerk’s 28-year-old national 100m record of 11.06 seconds, and then she went after the 60m indoor record, and she prevailed! She clocked 7.10 seconds on 9 February in Paris, obliterating the previous record of 7.15 seconds set by Wendy Hartman in 1999. Also in Paris, Horn improved her national mark to 7.09 seconds, giving the rainbow nation an indication that the first sub-11 second 100m by a South African female sprinter might be a thing of the past after the weekend. The build up to nationals has been smooth-sailing…let’s hope it goes as smooth when the pistol sounds.

Caster is going for the 800-1500m double, Sunette Viljoen is looking to make it 13 national titles, and Wenda Nel is undoubtedly in the run for another national title. The question to ask, though, is: who will cause the upsets? Come and witness #TopUpTuks live!

 

Written by Reggie Hufkie