Thursday, 29 July 2021 16:51

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Hurdles specialist Sokwakhana "Soks" Zazini and distance runner Dominique Scott-Efurd, will get South Africa's track and field campaign underway at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Friday.

Zazini will be the first SA athlete to line up on Day 1 of the athletics competition in the first-round heats of the men's 400m hurdles.

He enters the blocks in heat 5 against a field which is led by in-form American athlete Rai Benjamin.

The top four athletes in each heat and the next four fastest athletes will progress to the 400m hurdles semifinals.

Scott-Efurd will compete in the opening round of the women's 5 000m event.

In a field which includes 19 athletes, Scott-Efurd goes in heat 2 against the likes of two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya and in-form Ethiopian athlete Gudaf Tsegay.

The top five athletes in each 5 000m heat and the next five fastest athletes will qualify for the final.

"This is it for our athletes," said James Moloi the President of Athletics South Africa. "Since last edition of the 2016 Games, this is what each athlete has been building up to.

"We are excited for each for making it to the ultimate destination and dream for all.

"We are not going to put any pressure on them because representing South Africa is pressure enough.  However, we remind them that the mandate on each athlete is targeting a spot in the finals.

"So, we wish everyone well and we trust that Soks and Dominique will have a dream start."

Schedule of SA athletes on Friday:

4.57am - Sokwakhana "Soks" Zazini, 400m men hurdles heats

12.26pm - Dominique Scott-Efurd, 5 000m women heats.