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Juniors to honour Caster

Newly crowned African junior long jump record-holder Luvo Manyonga and rising javelin star Tazmin Brits, will carry the SA flag at the opening ceremony of the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada on Monday.

And the team’s first medal won will┬á be dedicated to SA’s world senior 800 metres champion Caster Semenya, who made her comeback to international competition in Finland this week.

Boland-based Manyonga, fresh from an African junior best of 8.19 metres set in Germany last weekend, arrived at the Team SA camp last night and together with Brits ÔÇô who won gold at the World Youth Championships in the Czech Republic in 2007 (51.71 metres) and finished fifth at the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland two years back with a throw of 56.12m were excited at the prospect of carrying in the flag of the Rainbow Nation.

‘It’s great that Semenya is back in competition after a lengthy lay-off and Team SA are proud to go into competition knowing that the first medal that we collect will be in honour of her,ÔÇØ said North West University student Brits, who goes into the javelin competition with a qualifying performance of 56.18m to her name.

After her superb win in her comeback race over 800 metres in Finland on Thursday, Semenya dropped the national junior team another message of support.

Besides Manyonga, other SA athletes to arrive at the team’s accommodation on Friday after campaigning in Europe included Stefan Brits (long jump) and Shaun de Jager (400 metres).

After 27 hours of air travel over a two-day period, Team SA were relieved to reach their accommodation at the Mount Austin University late on Friday. Many of the 23 pieces of team luggage were found at the Toronto International Airport and were expected to be delivered to the team’s accommodation today.

Team SA’s management were also hard at work to purchase or loan pole vault equipment for decathlon athlete Gert Swanepoel after several airline authorities refused to fly Swanepoel’s poles to the event due to the length of the poles.