ASA schedules athletics meets for athletes to qualify for Olympics

Johannesburg – Following the cancelation of the 2021 African Athletics Senior Championships, earmarked by a number of athletes who have not qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Athletics South Africa (ASA) has scheduled a number of meeting to help athletes with their qualification.

The African Championships were to be held in Lagos, Nigeria from June 23 to 27 but due to Covid-19, the meeting has been canceled.

Among the athletes that were expected to compete at the African Championship is 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya.

ASA regrets the cancellation of the continental showpiece will surely rob our athletes of a needed elite international competition before the Olympics, ASA said in a media statement.

ASA has, however, identified several domestic competitions in several ASA provinces that can still be utilised by our athletes to qualify before the Olympic Games deadline of 29 June for all events (excluding the Marathon and 50km Race Walk). They may also be used for preparation for those who have already qualified.

“While this in an unfortunate development, we understand that Covid-19 remains a threat and continues to be disruptive in everything we do,” said James Moloi, the president of Athletics ASA.

“Most of Africa and indeed, the major part of the world, is still being held hostage by the pandemic.

“It’s a pity, therefore, that our athletes will not be benefitting from the great competition that the African Champs offer and it’s unlikely that there will be another opportunity to host the continental event before the Olympic Games.

“However, this is not entirely a lost course for our athletes who are still looking for competition to qualify for the Games as there are several competitions that are available in our domestic calendar at our ASA provinces.

“We urge coaches and their athletes to make use of these opportunities which offer a variety including middle distance and track and field. They must keep in touch with the 17 provinces to find out what other useful competitions are available before the Olympic cut-off date.

“For those who have already qualified, the same domestic competitions can be used for preparations, especially because most are used by international athletes who are holding camp in South Africa and thus add to needed competition. KZN Athletics, for instance, will include the 5000m events in their middle distance meeting.”

The following are some of the key events identified by ASA for athletes and coaches:

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