Cape Town - Athletics South Africa has announced a 78-member National Preparation Squad in order to help athletes ensure they are ready for the new campaign in what is likely to be an action-packed 2022 season.
The ASA Preparation Squad includes 58 men, spearheaded by the likes of sprint stars Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine, experienced long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and marathon runner Stephen Mokoka.
The squad also features 18 women, including resurgent 400m hurdler Wenda Nel and long-distance runner Gerda Steyn.
Though she is currently restricted from racing middle-distances at international level, former Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya is also on the list, along with javelin ace Sunette Viljoen, who recently joined the Northerns Titans cricket team but was active on the track and field circuit this year.
Aside from the country's top performers, the ASA Preparation Squad also includes some of South Africa's most promising young athletes.
“Firstly, the Board of ASA congratulates you for being named in the National Preparation Squad. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Your individual progress paves the way for your future successes and serves as an inspiration for other aspiring athletes. We are confident that by announcing the squad this early, it will make all athletes even hungrier to succeed,” said James Moloi, the President of ASA.
All athletes in the ASA Preparation Squad and their coaches will be invited to attend an Elite Athletes and Coaches’ Meeting in Kempton Park, Johannesburg on 22 January 2022.
This meeting will give athletes and coaches an opportunity to address the national federation and gain a better understanding of ASA's plans in the build-up to the 2022 season, which includes the World Athletics Championships in Eugene and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.