Team SA confident of winning medals at World Championships

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Team South Africa has vowed to bring back medals from the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, which starts on Saturday. The last time Team South Africa returned home from the World Champs with medals was six years ago when they were held in London. The team won six medals back then.

This time around, big guns seem to have peaked at the right time with 400m world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk and sprinters Akani Simbine and Zakithi Nene among the medal hopefuls.

Athletics South Africa sent off a group of 36 athletes to the championships on Monday afternoon. Team South Africa returned home empty-handed from the last two World Athletics Championships in Doha and the United States. It is something this year’s team to the Budapest championships has promised to rectify, with most athletes in good form.

“I’ve been following most of our athletes and they are in top form at the moment I am actually very excited to see what is going to happen and I know they are going to do their best,” says Shireen Noble, ASA deputy president.

“I really want to have a good position and of course run a personal best and I believe the team will at least get four medals, hopefully we can do more than that,” says Irvette van Zyl, long-distance runner.

Among the disciplines Team SA will compete in, is the four by 100 metres relay event where a podium finish is possible as the sprinters are in top form.

Overseas-based Wayde Van Niekerk and Akani Simbine are other medals hopefuls for the country, while sprinting sensation, Zakithi Nene, who won a Diamond League title in the 400 metres in Stockholm last month, is another serious contender.

“I’ve been competing with most of them on the circuit in Europe so I’ve got their numbers I know what to expect, I feel if I can compete against Wayde I can beat anybody in the world,” says Zakithi Nene, sprinter.

“The team we have is a mixture of youth and the established athletes, so I feel that we have got the potential to bring back home medals there is Akani, Wayne and Zakithi,” says Kyle Blignaut, shot putter.

Van Niekerk and Simbine were not part of the departing team as they are in Europe already and will join Team South Africa in Hungary.

VIDEO: Athletics – Previewing Team SA’s prospects at the World Championships in Budapest: Jean Verster