Semenya, Simbine headline Newton Classic Shoot-Out at UJ

Photo of Akani Simbine by Getty Images.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of BackTrack or EC Active.

 

The second leg of the Newton Classic Shootout presented by Backtrack Sports and Nike is set to put on a spectacular show, with South Africa’s track and field aces Caster Semenya and Akani Simbine headlining the women’s 300m and men’s 150m races at the University of Johannesburg Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Lining up alongside Caster Semenya in the women’s 300m race is Taylon Bieldt (2019 SA 100mh champion), Gezelle Magerman (2014 Youth Olympics 400mh gold medalist) and Amy Naude (first leg Newton Classic Shootout 600m winner). A strong field indeed, especially over the 300m. Taylon Bieldt, the University of Pretoria’s hurdle sensation, is known for winning anything from the 100m to the 400m, but she will have some company from the likes of Naude who last week shot to front from the gun and never looked back- she went on to win the women’s 600m race. Caster Semenya won’t have it easy with these two young stars, but with all due respect, we are talking about Caster Semenya, South Africa’s golden girl. She boasts a 400m personal best of 49.62 (national record), and although we don’t know what shape she is in, she should undoubtedly deliver a performance to remember right here in Johannesburg.

Kabelo Mohlosi, the 2019 South African 800m champion, will have his hands full with 16 athletes lining up in the men’s 600m race. Ashley Hlungwani (national 400m athlete), Ranti Dikgale (national 400m athlete- EC), Mpho Makofane (UJ), Themba Madima (EC) and Ruan Jonck (Kovsies) are all included in the line-up, which makes this race very unpredictable because all of the above athletes are some of the hardest working athletes in the country.

In the men’s 150m, world championships finalist Akani Simbine is confirmed to line-up. The African champion will go head-to-head with Clarence Munyai, the South African 200m record holder. This promises to be the first big sprinting clash of the year; Akani Simbine versus Clarence Munyai. Or perhaps we are in for a big surprise. I mean, the 2017 French Universaide 200m champion Jeffrey John, the 2019 Universaide 200m silver medalist Chederick van Wyk, and Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi, the 2019 African under 20 200m champion, are lining up as well. Maswanganyi surprised the field to win the men’s 60m at last week’s shootout, but will he be able to pull another great performance out of the hat? It’s a stellar line-up led by the greatest 100m runner in South Africa (the greatest South African of all-time). You do not want to miss this one.

Antoinette van der Merwe will be the athlete to beat in the women’s 150m as she will be defending her 2019 title. She stunned the crowd by winning both the 60m hurdles and 60m events not even twenty minutes apart last week. The 2019 South African 100mh champion is in very good shape so early in the season, but she won’t get this win on a silver platter. Cassidy Williamson, a former Classic Shoot-Out champion will be lining up next to her. This line-up looks set to deliver very fast times ahead of a packed season before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Youngsters Valeska Nel, Cayla Seddon and Caroline Mosime are also looking to make their mark.

 

Event details:

UJ Stadium – 14 February 2020

150m Women’s race – 16:12

150m Men’s race – 16:15

300m Women’s race – 18:05

600m Men’s race – 21:10

 

Written by Reggie Hufkie