While some athletes were expected to arrive with little time to prepare for their competitions, South African Athletics confirmed that the entire national team flew to Eugene on Friday for the World Championships, which was due to start later in the evening (South Africa time).
Athletes from around the world were stranded on the eve of the exhibition, including 13 South Africans (10 based in Italy and three in Joburg) after they failed to obtain visas on time.
Among them were 100m runners Gift Leotlela and Clarence Munyai, who were scheduled to compete in the men’s 100m early Saturday morning.
“Now all fears have been dispelled: the remaining 13 athletes on the South African team have received permission to enter the United States without visas, and they all successfully flew out before the first day of the competition,” the ASA confirmed.
Time to run
The South African team will open their 4x400m medley relay campaign on Friday night.
The late session on the first day (early Saturday morning) features the likes of walker Wayne Snyman, who is hoping to top his weight in the men’s 20k race, and former world championship medalist Raswal Samai, who happens to be by his side. Cheswill Johnson and Jovan van Vuuren in the qualifying round of the men’s long jump.
Munyai and Leotlela, who are hoping to recover from long travel delays and their late arrivals, will join national record holder Akani Simbine (who arrived early for the show) in the men’s 100m.