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Big boost for SA athletics

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A star-studded line-up will be in action in Roodepoort tomorrow evening when the men’s 200m event is set to trigger the fireworks

ADDED INCENTIVES: There was some added good news to go along with South Africas Team Kit Launch for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with the news that SA track and filed have a new corporate backer. Picture: BackpagePix

For the first time in five years, South African track and field will have a corporate backer after Liquid Telecom was announced as the title sponsor of the Athletix Grand Prix Series for the next three years.

The series has already breathed new life into local athletics even before the starting gun has been fired. Local athletics has been without a sponsor since the Yellow Pages Series in 2012.

Liquid Telecom CEO Kyle Whitehill was coy about the exact worth of the sponsorship, saying it was “a lot” for the three-year period.

The fibre telecommunications company last week revealed an R8 million sponsorship of SA sprint star Akani Simbine until 2020.

“I wasn’t allowed to say how much it was, but it is a lot; it will not affect the prizemoney, only positively,” Whitehill said.

“The money will go towards a combination of prizemoney, appearance fees, the hosting of the events.”

A total of R1 365 000 in incentives will be on offer over the three legs of the series where the winners in each event walk away with R20 000, with second and third bagging R10 000 and R5 000 respectively.

Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana said the series would provide local athletes with opportunities to show their mettle against some of the best in the world.

“The arrival of Liquid Telecom is important to us, it came at the right time when we have the mushrooming of young athletes,” he said.

A star-studded line-up will be in action in Roodepoort tomorrow evening when the men’s 200m event is set to trigger the fireworks.

World 200m bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana and SA junior record holder Clarence Munyai will be defending the country’s pride when they race against Botswana’s Isaac Makwala.

Makwala has distinguished himself as one of the finest 200/400m athletes in recent years.

World Championships 10 000m silver medallist Joshua Cheptegei will headline the 1 500m where he will face the local contingent of Jerry Motsau, Folavio Sehole, South African champion Dumisang Hlaselo and rising star Ryan Mphahlele.

The men’s high jump will see world youth champion Breyton Poole, who boasts a best of 2.25m, take on Mpho Links (2.23m) and SA champion Chris Moleya (2.25m).