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|August **, 2000||
Corbett misses SA Olympic berth
Former world javelin champion Marius Corbett was the main omission when South Africa's National Olympic Committee (NOCSA) named the country's athletics team for the Sydney Olympics on Wednesday.
The 20-strong team was the last component of South Africa's Olympic party to be named and brought the total number of athletes selected to travel to Sydney to 131. The Games open on September 15.
Corbett, who won his world gold in Athens in 1997 and also triumphed at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, had failed to meet stringent qualifying standards set by Athletics South Africa.
For the past three years, ASA has set qualifying standards for major championships which are tougher than those of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).
This year ASA introduced another tough condition that athletes had to achieve the ASA standards in the six to eight weeks prior to the announcement of the final team to prove form and fitness.
Corbett, who had an operation on his right forearm late last year, surpassed the ASA standard of 82 metres in March.
However, he has been hampered by a back injury recently and only left for Europe a fortnight ago to try to achieve the standard in the specified period.
With only two Grand Prix meetings in London and Linz within which to meet the required mark, he failed even to reach 80 metres.
NOCSA president Sam Ramsamy and ASA chief executive Banele Sindani expressed optimism that the team could win as many as five or six medals.
In both Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta four years ago, the country won only one track medal through Elana Meyer in the 10,000 and Hezekiel Sepeng in the 800 respectively.
That pair, who both won silver, are again in the team, with Sepeng in particular viewed as a strong medal contender.
The other leading contenders include Llewellyn Herbert, who won silver in Athens in 1997 in the 400 metres hurdles and discus thrower Frantz Kruger.
The team also includes high jumper Hestrie Cloete, who topped the rankings in the women's event last year.
Ramsamy closed the door on possible late qualifications by athletes like Corbett when he said the size of the team would not increase. But the composition could change in the event of injuries forcing replacements in team events.
Liezel Horn has already been named to replace the injured Mariaan de Swardt as the doubles partner for Amanda Coetzer in South Africa's tennis team.
Mail Sports Editor
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