South Africa names 39-strong team for Rio 2016 Olympics

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A 39-member national athletics team was named for the Rio Olympic Games on Thursday, with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) revealing the final squad for next month’s showpiece.

The athletics contingent forms part of a 137-member Team SA which is set to compete in various codes at the quadrennial spectacle, the national Olympic body confirmed.

The track and field squad includes former Olympic medallists Khotso Mokoena, who earned Long jump silver at Beijing 2008, and Caster Semenya, who finished second in the 800m event at London 2012 Olympics.

They will be joined in Rio by the likes of global 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, in-form long jumper Ruswahl Samaai, resurgent 400m hurdler LJ van Zyl and Javelin Throw star Sunette Viljoen, who are among the nation’s most prominent medal hopes.

Athletics is the only code to have contributed towards the South African team’s medal haul at every edition of the Olympic Games since readmission in 1992, and a full-strength squad will be confident of regaining their best form after securing only two medals at the last two editions of the quadrennial spectacle.

South Africa has never bagged more than three medals at a single edition of the Games in the athletics competition, but with the current world-class group of local stars, they will aim to do so for the first time.

Meanwhile, Discus thrower Victor Hogan has been withdrawn from the team after testing positive for banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, which is common in fat-burning supplements.

Hogan was officially banned for two years effective from Wednesday 13 July 2016 after he did not dispute the positive results of his A and B samples, SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO Khalid Galant said.

“We are not going to comment on this case until after disciplinary process has been exhausted,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.

“Our focus for now, is on the massive team we are sending where we are pinning our medal hopes”, he added.

Team South Africa Athletics Rio 2016 Olympics (12-21 August, 2016):

100m: Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies
200m: Anaso Jobodwana, Clarence Munyai, Gift Leotlela
400m: Wayde van Niekerk
800m: Jacob Rozani, Rynardt van Rensburg
5,000m: Elroy Gelant
10,000m: Stephen Mokoka
Marathon: Lusapho April, Sibusiso Nzima, Lungile Gongqa
110m hurdles: Antonio Alkana
400m hurdles: LJ van Zyl, Lindsay Hanekom, Le Roux Hamman
Long jump: Ruswahl Samaai, Luvo Manyonga, Stefan Brits
Triple jump: Khotso Mokoena
Javelin throw: Rocco van Rooyen
Decathlon: Willem Coertzen
20km walk: Lebogang Shange, Wayne Snyman
50km walk: Marc Mundell

100m: Carina Horn, Alyssa Conley
200m: Conley, Justine Palframan
400m: Palframan, Tsholofelo Thipe
800m: Caster Semenya
10,000m: Dominique Scott
Marathon: Irvette van Zyl, Christine Kalmer, Lebo Phalula
400m hurdles: Wenda Nel
Long jump: Lynique Prinsloo
Javelin throw: Sunette Viljoen
20km walk: Anel Oosthuizen

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