All eyes will be on world champion Wayde van Niekerk tonight when he makes his international season debut at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome (7.45pm on SS5).
The Kraaifontein 400m ace headlines South Africa’s Rio Olympic hopefuls with 800m dik ding Caster Semenya, long-jump larney Ruswahl Samaai and javelin juffrou Sunette Viljoen.
Sprinter Akani Simbine, discus ace Victor Hogan and 400m hurdler Wenda Nel are also in action.
Van Niekerk, who clocked 44.11 in the 400m last month, is the fastest man in the field this season.
Caster, the fastest woman in the world this year with a 1:56.64 |season’s best, is the firm favourite after winning the Diamond League tournaments in Doha and Rabat last month.
Viljoen, the top-ranked women’s javelin thrower in the world this year, spearheads the entry list after launching a 65.14m season’s best to secure victory in Doha.
Paarl-born star Samaai, fresh off his personal-best leap of 8.38m in Rabat less than two weeks ago, and recently-recovered Luvo Manyonga (8.30m), will turn out among the favourites.
Simbine will hope to make a statement against controversial American Justin Gatlin (9.94) and Nigerian-born speedster Femi Ogunode (9.91), now competing for Qatar, who have also dipped under 10 seconds this season.
Infield, Victor Hogan boasts the third best throw this year in the men’s discus throw line-up, after setting a 67.62m career record at the national championships in Stellenbosch in April.
Nel is one of six women in the 400m hurdles race who have dipped under 55 seconds this |season.