Controversy over SA athletics team

23 July 2017 - 00:07 By DAVID ISAACSON

Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk glittered on the Côte D'Azur on Friday night, but even their efforts couldn't camouflage the controversy around the national world championship team selection.
Competing at the final Diamond League event in Monaco before the August 4-13 global showpiece in London, Semenya took one-hundredth of a second off her South African 800m record.
She clocked 1min 55.27sec to win a tight race where the top five were faster than the top five at the Rio Olympics last year.
Then Semenya threatened to double up in the 1500m or 400m in London.
Van Niekerk was second going into the home straight of the 400m, but he fought back to tame high-flying Isaac Makwala of Botswana in a 43.73 meet record.
Akani Simbine ended third behind Usain Bolt in the 100m.
With the nation focused on them, Athletics SA (ASA) named its London-bound team. They number 24, of whom 18 have achieved ASA's A-qualifying standards which are mostly tougher than the criteria set by the sports world governing body, the IAAF.
No fewer than 19 other SA athletes matched the IAAF marks, but ASA picked only six of them, with observers insisting there was no consistency in its choices.
Of the six, race-walker Lebogang Shange and sprinter Pieter Conradie are ranked the highest, at 35, while the two women's marathoners are outside the top 200.
Sprinter Henricho Bruintjies, one of seven Olympians excluded, is ranked 33rd.
The men's 400m hurdles has been one of South Africa's premier events for two decades, but ASA chose not to send a single one of the four IAAF qualifiers, who included 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Cornel Fredericks and veteran LJ van Zyl.
US-based distance star Dominique Scott has run eight personal bests and two SA records this season, but she was overlooked.

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