IAAF Continental Cup preview

Photo of Rushwahl Samaai at the 2017 London World Championships by Getty Images

The international track and field season will come to an end this weekend, following the conclusion of the International of Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Continental Cup, in Ostrava, in Czech Republic.

The IAAF Continental Cup will feature squads from Africa, America’s, Asia-Pacific and Europe who won the previous edition, in Morocco, in 2014. The two-day event will be based on a point system that will see athletes compete in a straight final.

Middle distance specialist Caster Semenya and SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine will lead the South African contingent along with 18 other athletes from the country that will form part of the 74-member African team that includes 39 men and 35 women.

Semenya will be the overwhelming favourite to the lift the women’s 800m event title after dominating the event on the international track and field circuit this year. She took the Commonwealth Games, African and IAAF Diamond League title. Semenya also holds the women’s 400m, 800m, 1000m and 1500m South Africa records.

Simbine full go into the IAAF Continental Cup full of confidence after dipping under-10 seconds on a number of occasions this season. He was also crowned 100m champion at the Commonwealth Games and Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) African Senior Championships in April and August.

The national 100m hurdles record holder Rikenette Steenkamp has been one of the standout athletes on the South African track and field circuit this season. From breaking the national record, to winning gold at the inaugural Athletics World Cup, in London, in the United Kingdom. Steenkamp followed that up with a silver medal at the CAA African Senior Championships.

Just like his female counter-part, four-time national 110m hurdles champion Antiono Alkana has had a consistent season and would look to impress in his final competition of the season. In his most recent outing, he finished in second-place clocking 13.50 seconds, at the Padova meet, in Italy, last week. Alkana a member of Bellville Athletics Cup in Cape Town also defended his title at the CAA African Senior Championships last month that saw him qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup.

Ruswahl Samaai booked his spot to Czech Republic following a mouth-watering contest in the men’s long jump event against fellow teammate and World Champion Luvo Manyonga, at the CAA African Senior Championships following his 8.45m jump that saw him take victory. The two-time African Champion has had a consistent 2018 track and field season and will look to end it with a bang.

The men’s 4x100m relay team that includes Simbine, the first South African to run sub 10 seconds Simon Magakwe, Emile Erasmus, Henricho Bruintjies, and Titi Ncincilili (only four of them will get the nod to run the event on the day) will be among the favourites to finish on the podium. Simbine, Erasmus, Bruintjies and Anaso Jobodwana broke the national record clocking 38.24 seconds to grab silver, at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, earlier this year. Last month the quartet (Simbine, Magakwe, Erasmus and Bruintjies missed the SA record by 0.01 seconds to take victory at the CAA African Senior Championships.

 

Written by Keagan Mitchell