Olympic champion and world 400m record holder, Wayde van Niekerk, is amongst seven athletes added by Athletics South Africa [ASA] to the revised team list of the Preparation Squad for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Van Niekerk, who has not yet made his comeback from a lengthy injury hiatus, has now been included in the 4x400m relay squad in addition to the 400m where he is defending champion.

With ASA having recently unveiled a 56-member Preparation Squad, the updated group features a total of 63 individuals who are all hoping to ultimately make the final cut for the quadrennial games.

On the track, Ruan de Vries is an addition in the men’s 110m hurdles, while sprinters Henricho Bruintjies and Emile Erasmus have both received the nod for the 4x100m relay squad.

Following the inclusion of Bruintjies and Erasmus, national sprints coach, Paul Gorries will have 10 men to work with ahead of Tokyo, forming a powerful SA squad in the sprint relay event.

On the road, marathon runners Tebogo Mathiba, Sibusiso Nzima, Melikhaya Frans and Collen Mulaudzi have been added for the 42.2km race, joining Stephen Mokoka, Elroy Gelant and Desmond Mokgobu, who were already in the initial preparation group.

In the build-up to the Tokyo Games, ASA intends to provide athletes with multiple opportunities to achieve the qualifying criteria on home soil in the new year. These include a series of Grand Prix meetings set for March and April, along with the ASA Senior Track & Field and Combined Events Championships, to be held in Tshwane between April 23 and 25 which will be of compulsory participation.

The final athletics line-up of Team South Africa will be announced by Sascoc (the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) closer to the Games.

“We have revised the team after considerations made by the selection committee,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of ASA. “Now that we’ve announced the squad, ASA will be conducting the National Coaches Symposium from November 29 to December 1.

“The main theme of the symposium will be the final preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games. Several guest speakers of international standing will deliver presentations related to the main theme.

“We will then invite the Preparation Squad and their personal poaches on 25 January, to a final briefing session which will detail the final preparation for the Olympics. We will also share with them information gained from coaches symposium.”

Athletics South Africa Preparation Squad:

Individual athletes

Akani Simbine, Simon Magakwe, Thando Dlodlo, Clarence Munyai, Anaso Jobodwana, Luxolo Adams, Wayde van Niekerk, Thapelo Phorwa, Derrick Mokaleng, Gardeo Isaacs, Tshepo Tshite, Rynardt van Resnburg, Rantso Mokopane, Antonio Alkana, Ruan de Vries, Sokwakhana Zazini, Lindsey Hanekom, Zarck Visser, Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Orazio Cremona, Kayle Blignaut, Victor Hogan, Lebogang Shange, Wayne Snyman, Stephen Mokaka, Elroy Gelant, Desmond Mokgobu, Tebogo Mathiba, Sibusiso Nzima, Melikhaya Frans, Collen Mulaudzi, Marc Mundell, Tebogo Mamathu, Zeney van der Walt, Caster Semenya, Domnique Scott-Efurd, Rikenette Steenkamp, Wenda Nel, Rogail Joseph, Lynique beneke, Sunette Viljoen, Gerda Steyn, Nolene Conrad.

4x100m Relay – Men and Women

Akani Simbine, Simon Magakwe, Thando Dlodo, Clarence Munyai, Anaso Jobodwana, Chederick van Wyk, Dambile Sinesipho, Thando Roto, Henricho Bruintjies, Emile Erasmus, Tamzine Thomas, Taylon Bieldt, Rikenette Steenkamp, Tebogo Mamathu, Rose Xeyi, Antionette van der Merwe, Rea Moloi, Petunia Obisi.

4x400m Relay – Men and Women

Derrick Mokaleng, Gardeo Isaacs, Ranti Dikgale, Jon Seeliger, Lythe Pillay, Pieter Conradie, Thapelo Phora, Ashley Hlungwani, Wayde van Niekerk, Zeney van der Walt, Wenda Nel, Danel Holton, Taylon Bieldt, Ranti Dikgale, Jon Seeliger, Lythe Pillar, Pieter Conradie.

Source: Sport24