ATHLETES HAIL ASA NITE SERIES
South Africa’s top athletes have hailed the ASA Nite Series as a wonderful innovation. The Diamond-League style track and field meets have been introduced this year in order to give athletes the opportunity for top class competition as they prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio in July and August.
The two meets, one in Pretoria at the beginning of March and the other in Cape Town last night, have already produced Olympic qualification times from the likes of Elroy Gelant, Carina Horn, Alyssa Conley, Caster Semenya and Akani Simbine. Simbine’s 9.96 in the 100m at the Pilditch Stadium, a new national record, was the most noteworthy of those performances.
And athletes say the quality of the meets has made it easy to perform at their best. ‘It’s amazing,’ said sprinter Alyssa Conley. ‘Thanks to ASA for giving us the platform to qualify. If it wasn’t for this [Nite Series] you would have to go to Europe to qualify, but now we can focus on preparation and training and focus on the big events,’ Conley added. 800 Olympic silver medalist Caster Semenya, who has run all over the world, echoed Conley’s comments saying the standard of the ASA Nite Series meets is on par with the celebrated Diamond League meets in Europe. ‘There’s no difference. You must remember that it’s all about time. Same distance, same time. Diamond or no diamond,’ said Semenya.
The next stop for the ASA Nite Series is Port Elizabeth on the 19th of April.