SA athletes rake in more medals

Antonio Alkana
Antonio Alkana
Image: Getty Images

Keeping themselves in the hunt for a successful title defence at the 21st CAA African Senior Championships, the South African team earned another four medals on Saturday’s penultimate day of competition in Asaba, Nigeria.

Antonio Alkana produced the highlight of the day, retaining his continental crown by winning gold in the 110m men’s hurdles final in 13.51 seconds, well clear of the rest of the field.

His teammate, Ruan de Vries, crossed the line in sixth position in 13.98.

“I came here to defend my title and I finished in the top two, so I’m happy to have made the team for the IAAF Continental Cup [in Ostrava next month,” Alkana said.

In other disciplines, Khotso Mokoena snatched the silver medal in the men’s triple jump, launching a leap of 16.83m with his last attempt.

Countryman Menzi Mthembu finished 12th with a 15.33m effort.

Clearing the bar at 5.10m, Valco van Wyk grabbed the runner-up spot in the men’s pole vault, with teenager Ekhardt van der Watt finishing fourth after clearing 4.90m.

Former world junior championships medallist Jo-Ane van Dyk also did well to carry the national flag in the absence of injured compatriot Sunette Viljoen, taking silver in the javelin after hitting 53.72m.

In the men’s hammer throw final, Tshepang Makhethe narrowly missed out on a medal with a 68.81m effort, falling just 10cm short of a place on the podium.

Veteran Chris Harmse was fifth (68.71m) and Allan Cumming ended sixth (67.37m).

The SA team have scooped 21 medals after four days of competition, with six gold, 10 silver and five bronze and are on top of the overall table.

“Another four medals including a gold are a good way to end the fourth day of competition,” Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana said.

“So, special congratulations to Alkana and all other medallists for the achievements.

“We must not forget to congratulate Caster Semenya for setting a new SA record in the 400m when she won gold on day three.

“Her discipline and hard work with her coach are paying this year.

“She is getting stronger and faster in almost all the disciplines she is participating in.”