CENTRAL GAUTENG Athletics is delighted to receive news of South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (SASCOC) revealing the squad that will carry the nations’ flag at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan from 23 July to 8 August 2021.
The athletics team consists of 35 athletes consisting of 30 men and 5 women, who are expected to represent us with great pride at the games.
The athletics team features resilient stars from Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA), the likes of Cheswill Johnson, Jason Van Rooyen, Desmond Mokgobu, Kyle Blignaut, Gerda Steyn, Lythe Pillay and Precious Mashele.
CGA is also proud that two of our best coaches who have produced exceptional athletes over the years, Pierre Blignaut and Hendrick Ramaala will be accompanying the team. Ramaala will also go down in history for being part of the games as an athlete in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 and now in 2021 as an athletics team coach.
Precious Mashele became the latest South African athlete to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games following his remarkable win in the men’s 5000m race in 13:11.65 at Kings Park Athletics Stadium on the last day of Olympic qualification window, 29 June 2021.
Mashele who shaved off 2 seconds of the Olympics qualifying standard of 13:13.10 and did not give up chasing his Olympic dream after missing the standard by 4 seconds in Cape Town at the beginning of June.
The new addition to the CGA family has to be Gerda Steyn, 2019 Comrades Marathon winner become 1st athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games after she finished 9th in the time of 2:25.28 in Siena, Italy. In the same race, Steyn smashed the South African marathon record set by Colleen de Reuck in September 1996 which stood for 25 years by nine minutes.
South African long distance runner Desmond Mokgubu secured his qualification for this year’s Olympics after he finished 2:09.13 at Valencia Marathon in December 2020. Mokgubu, who narrowly missed the qualifying mark for 2016 Rio Olympics, he ensured that he books his spot for this year’s Olympic Games.
Amongst favourites is the Long Jumper who is considered as a rising star Cheswill Johnson, who has been widely praised for emulating the likes of Khotso Mokoena who has taken pride in representing the country and the province over the years.
Johnson’s qualifying journey with his 8.27m jump achieved at an AGN league meeting in February 2021 has been very astonishing. The University of Johannesburg athlete opened his season on a high note with an 8.02m jump at the CGA league meeting at Boksburg Stadium in early February 2021. This was a clear sign of good performances to come and ultimately qualify for the Games.
The announcement of the relay teams saw Lythe Pillay’s inclusion in the men’s 4x400m distance, this was greatly expected after the excellent performance of the relay team at the recent World Relay Championships held in Poland to qualify in the time of 3:03.79.
The matric pupil who is also in the team for the World Junior (U20) Championships due to take place in Kenya from the 17 August to 22 August 2021 in his traditional event of 400m, will be aiming for a gold medal in both these prestigious contests.
South African shot-put rivalry between Jason van Rooyen and Kyle Blignaut overs the years has bared fruits with both qualifying for the Games.
2021 was a great season for the pair with them surpassing the 21-meter marker. On the 29 April 2021 in Potchefstroom, van Rooyen secured his ticket to Tokyo with a distance of 21:14 meters.
A week later at the same venue in Potchefstroom, Kyle Blignaut thrown 21.03 meters to book a place at the Tokyo Games. It is remarkable that both these shot put athletes are 24 and 21 respectively and the normal peak age of shot put athletes is 25 onwards. As the province we are positive of great future and more Olympics for this great talent.
President of both Central Gauteng Athletics and ASA James Moloi, commended all the athletes that have been dedicated and worked very hard to attaining their dream of being part of the ultimate Olympic Games team.
This did not end as a dream but a reality of being part of these extraordinary games especially during the Covid19 pandemic. We wished all athletes well and without placing pressure on the athletes we hope they will bring lots of medals and great performances back home.
Herewith with the Athletics Team to represent SA at the Tokyo Olympics Games:
Men: Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai, Antonio Alkana, Cheswill Johnson, Ruswahl Samaai, Rocco van Rooyen, Jason van Rooyen, Stephen Mokoka, Desmond Mokgobu, Elroy Gelant, Wayne Snyman, Kyle Blignaut, Marc Mundell, Wayde van Niekerk, Gift Leotlela, Shaun Maswanganyi, Anaso Jobodwana, Thapelo Phora, Sokwakhana Zazini, Lebogang Shange, Shaun Maswanganyi, Galaletsang Ramorwa, Chederick van Wyk, Pieter Conradie, Ranto Dikgale, Oscar Mavundla, Derrick Mokaleng, Zakhiti Nene, Lythe Pillay, Precious Mashele
Women: Wenda Nel, Dominique Scott, Gerda Steyn, Irvette van Zyl, Jo-Ane van Dyk.
Coaches and management: Jean Verster, Hezekiel Sepeng, Paul Gorries, Irma Reyneke, Hendrik Ramaala, Pierre Blignaut and Jennifer Kingwell.
Meanwhile, Japan has announced a state of emergency due to rising number of COVID-19 infections in Tokyo.