Athletics South Africa congratulated middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen on their victories at the opening leg of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League series in Doha, Qatar on Friday night.
Semenya won the Women’s 800m race, bursting clear down the home straight to cross the line in 1:58.26, and Viljoen launched a 65.14m heave with her first attempt of the international campaign to win the Women’s Javelin Throw.
“This series forms the pinnacle of the international track and field circuit, outside of major championships, and to have two winners at the first meeting of the year is a fantastic achievement,” said ASA President Aleck Skhosana.
“This gives an indication of the magnificent performances we can expect this season, in the build-up to the national team’s highly anticipated campaign at the Rio Olympics.
“Congratulations also to all athletes who competed in Doha! There were promising performances all round by a strong South African contingent.”
Victor Hogan, who had displayed spectacular form in the domestic season, also got his international campaign off to a solid start by taking third position in the Men’s Discus Throw with a 65.59m effort.
Wenda Nel ended fourth in the Women’s 400m Hurdles in 55.18, Antonio Alkana was eighth in the Men’s 110m Hurdles in 13.50 and Dumisane Hlaselo finished ninth in the Men’s 1 500m race, covering the distance in 3:36.65 on his Diamond League debut.
The SA Men’s 4x400m Relay team, invited to compete as part of their attempt to qualify for the Rio Games, took an unfortunate knock due to injury.
Thapelo Phora picked up a hamstring injury as he raced the second leg and they were unable to finish the race.
“These things happen and it happened to us. We must now move on and we shall have other opportunities for the relay team to qualify for the Olympic Games,” said Skhosana.