Members of the South African National 4x100m relay team in action during their first official training session at the University of Pretoria (Saturday, February 20, 2021). From Left to right: Chederick van Wyk, Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai and Simon Magakwe. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has concluded a successful maiden National Relay Training Camp of the year for the 4x100m men’s relay squad in preparation for the World Athletics Relays Challenge, 2021 Olympic Games and the 2022 World Championships.

The camp, which was held at the University of Pretoria’s Tuks Athletics Stadium in Tshwane, came to an end on Saturday, February 20th.

Amid fairly warm to high temperatures, National Relay Coach Paul Gorries got down to business with drills on exchange and sprints. At hand were also Relays Manager Danie Cornelius and ASA Excellence Manager Hezekiel Sepeng.

Saturday’s session comes in the background of a virtual planning meeting with athletes, which was hosted virtually on January 30th, to outline plans for the relay squad for the 2021 season.

The jovial athletes proved to be in good shape despite the constraints caused by the strict lockdown that has been in effect for a year, which was enacted by the national government under the National Disaster Act in their attempt to fight the Corona Virus pandemic.

“We are happy that this first training session of the year went very well,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa. “The athletes were in good spirits, very focused as they set their eyes on the World Relays Championships on the 1-2 May 2021 in Poland. The change overs, the speed of the athletes was phenomenal, and it is promising that we will be able to take on the big guns of the world in the 4x100m relay.

“You will recall that South Africa is ranked No. 5 in the world. We want to improve on what we achieved in Doha in 2019 and correct any mistakes we made. And the coach and the athletes are working towards ensuring that South Africa gets a medal where it matters most at the Olympics and World Championships.”

The training camp plans are, however, dependent on ongoing decisions of the national government and the behaviour of the Covid-19 virus at all given times.

Coach Gorries has already explained to the entire squad during the January 30 planning meeting, that all athletes will continue to be monitored and that all efforts will be made to monitor fitness and injuries of all athletes including those who are not based at Tshwane.

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.

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