Team SA targeting top finish at U-20 worlds

High jumper Breyton Poole will aiming to win his second world title at Tampere 2018. Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Athletics SA have named their team to represent South Africa at the IAAF World U20 Championships and have set the 19-member squad lofty ambitions.

The final team for the event which takes place in Tampere, Finland, from 10-15 July consists of 13 men and six women, a few of which stand out as favourites for medals.

In fact, hurdles starlets Zeney van der Walt and Sokwakhana Zazini as well as high jumper Breyton Poole will be aiming for back-to-back global crowns after winning their Under-18 world titles in Nairobi last year. They will also look to inspire their teammates to a stronger showing in the Under-20 worlds than Team SA managed two years ago.

"While South Africa finished 22nd on the medals table at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Junior Championships with three silver medals, we went on to finish top of the table at the IAAF World U18 Championships last year with 11 medals," said Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana in a press release.

"We are confident in this group of young talented athletes, who have all proved they have what it takes to compete against the best in the world at the very highest level of our sport in their age division."

Apart from the 'defending champions' the performances of Thando Dlodlo can also be eagerly anticipated after he became South Africa's fastest U20 100-metre sprinter of all time in March.

At the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Pretoria, Dlodlo reaffirmed that that the rise of South African sprinting is showing no signs of abating when he a ran a 10.11 - a time which suggests that the aim of becoming only the second high school athlete to run the 100m in under 10 seconds is within his grasp.

Team SA for Tampere 2018

Men - 100m: Thando Dlodlo, Tembo Monareng

200m: Thando Dlodlo, Ruben Els

400m: Gabriel Louw

110m hurdles: Silusapho Dingiswayo

400m hurdles: Lourens Steenkamp, Sokwakhana Zazini

High jump: Breyton Poole

Shot put: Kayle Blignaut

Discus: Naas Marais

Javelin: Anro van Eeden

4x100m: Silusapho Dingiswayo, Thando Dlodlo, Ruben Els, Tembo Monareng, Malesela Senona

4x400m: Thando Dlodlo, Gabriel Louw, Tembo Monareng, Lourens Steenkamp, Sokwakhana Zazini

Women - 400m: Nicola Gibbon, Marlie Viljoen

800m: Liza Kellerman

400m hurdles: Rogail Joseph, Zeney van der Walt

Shot put: Mieke Strydom

4x400m: Nicola Gibbon, Rogail Joseph, Liza Kellerman, Zeney van der Walt, Marlie Viljoen