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THE TOP RUNNER

A behind the scenes look at South African athletics

 

Urithi starts on road to develop future champions with sub 30 minute 10km challenge

As the lack of world South African class middle distance continues to be a matter for serious concern, one group of social runners have decided to do something about an issue that is giving administrators sleepless nights. Disappointed by the fact that only Precious Mashele managed to qualify for a middle distance event at #Tokyo2021, Urithi Athletics Club have launched a series of races which are aimed at unearthing the next generation of top runners. "This is the second edi

Mphahlele says Mashele inspired him as he prepares to qualify for Oregon 2022 World Champs 1500m

Ryan Mphahelele says in qualifying for the Olympic Games on home soil, Precious Mashele inspired up and coming locally-based athletes by showing them that middle distance runners do not necessarily have to go to Europe to run qualifying times for major championships. The 1500m and 5 000m man was one of a few top runners who were enlisted by Athletics South Africa to pace Mashele to the 13:11.65 5 000m effort that saw him book his spot at #Tokyo2021 on the very last day of the

'We need more role models that come from kasi' - Phora as he gives back

One of the most important arguments to emerge from the recent social media furore surrounding the racial makeup of South Africa's Olympic team, was the need for grassroots development of promising junior athletes. And while Team SA failed to produce an athletics medal at #Tokyo2021 for the first time in the nation's post-Apartheid history, Thapelo Phora remains positive about the wealth of talent that lies undiscovered in the country's townships. "Honestly I think the youngst

'My dream came true' says Ntando Mahlangu as he pockets over R1 million for two gold medals

South African Paralympic sensation Ntando Mahlangu bagged his second gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympics yesterday, when he won the 200m in the T61 category. Mahlangu who is the world record holder in the event, clocked 23.59 to cross the finish line ahead of Great Britain's Richard Whitehead with Ali Lacin of Germany in third. Speaking to the SASCOC media team in Japan, the 19-year-old couldn't contain his excitement. "What a great run I had! I think coming into the race I h

Xaba poised to make a statement as SPAR 10km Grand Prix returns on Sunday

Diminutive South African runner Glenrose Xaba aims to put a strong performance when taking part in the Maritzburg Spar Women's 10k race on Sunday. The race is the first of six which form part of a Grand Prix which carries a whopping R185 000 reward for the overall winner. The series was set to get away in June but was delayed by a third wave of Covid19 infections. With big names like 2019 Grand Prix champion Helalila Johannes and her fellow #Tokyo2021 Olympians Gerda Steyn an

SASCOC to consider prioritizing athletics and swimming in Olympic funding allocation

Following South Africa's disappointing showing at the recent Olympic Games, SASCOC has acknowledged that it may have to prioritize certain sporting codes above others in order to win more medals at future Games. Team South Africa returned from #Tokyo2021 with just three medals, which is the country's worst showing since Beijing 2008. And while Athletics and Swimming usually provide the bulk of the nation's podium finishes, the former failed to produce a single medal for the f

'I'm disappointed because we wanted to win a medal for our country' - Elroy Gelant

For the first time since readmission, South Africa returned from an Olympic Games without winning an athletics medal. The disappointment of finishing outside the top forty and below neighbours Namibia and Botswana on the athletics medals table, has sparked a furious debate about the state of a sport which had enjoyed the honour of being the only code to win a medal in Beijing, when Khotso Mokoena's silver medal saved the nation the embarrassment of failing to win a single med

I didn't have time to practice exchanges with Clarence - Maswanganyi after Team SA 4x100m relay mess

As Team South Africa continue the hunt for a first athletics medal at #Tokyo2021, Shawn Maswanganyi has weighed in on the confusion that saw the 4x100m relay disqualified after the baton failed to make round the track. After winning gold at the World Relay Championships in May, South Africa were seen as a real medal prospect in an event traditionally dominated by the Americans and Jamaicans. But the team consisting of Maswanganyi, SA 200m record holder Clarence Munyai, Africa

Olympians expected to headline as SPAR Women's Grand Prix Series returns

As the athletics programme at #Tokyo2021 nears its end, the focus is shifting back to the local running scene. Organisers of the SPAR Women's 10km Grand Prix have announced a star studded line up for the first race of 2021 which is likely include no less than three Olympians. The series will kick off on Sunday August 22, with the Pietermaritzburg SPAR Grand Prix at Alexandra Park where South Africa's Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl as well as Namibia's Helalia Johannes are ex

Blignaut aims for top six as he becomes first SA athlete to make Olympic shot put final since 2000

Kyle Blignaut made history by becoming only the second South African to progress to an Olympic shot put final since Janus Robberts at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Blignaut threw 20:97m to advance as one of the top 12 ranked athletes at his Games debut in #Tokyo2021. His result gives Team SA a glimmer of hope as they continue the search for a first athletics medal at the Japanese Games. Speaking to the SASCOC media team in Tokyo, Blignaut says he is happy with what trans

'Anything is possible' says Precious Mashele as he makes Olympic debut

When Precious Mashele takes his mark for the heats of the men's 5000m today it will be as one of the less fancied runners in a field stacked with East Africans and other more well known performers. The only South African in the event will line up in heat 2 at 13:16 CAT alongside 5000m and 10 000m world record holder Joshua Cheptgei of Uganda and his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo who won bronze in the 10 000m on Friday. Mashele's personal best of 13:11.65 which he had to run in ord

Van Niekerk still in contention for a medal as he qualifies for semi-finals

The world's fastest man over 400m Wayde Van Niekerk produced a mature performance during the heats to book a place in the Olympic semifinals of his signature event. Even though Van Niekerk came third in 45:25 in a race won by Anthony Zambrano of Colombia, he never looked troubled as he booked his place in today's (Monday 2 August) semi-finals based on placing as one of the top three finishers in his heat. Van Niekerk, who set a world record of 43:03 during the Rio 2016 Olympi

'Disappointed' Simbine looks to redeem himself in SA's 4X100m relay team

Akani Simbine admitted to being disappointed after finishing just outside the medals in today's Olympic 100m final. In the absence of the mercurial Usain Bolt, The Blue Riband event was looking to crown its first new champion since Beijing 2008 with Simbine in the mix for a podium finish. But after a good start that saw him in contention through 60m, he was pipped to the bronze medal by a fast-finishing Andre de Grasse of Canada, as Italian Marcel Jacobs claimed a surprise go

'I wasn't given a proper platform to tell my story' - Shange

South African walking sensation Lebogang Daywalker Shange's hopes of representing the country at a second Olympic Games have gone up with the smoke of the starter's gun. This after Shange was handed a four year ban for a doping violation this week. In 2019 Shange tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid trenbolone, a drug used to promote muscle growth in cattle, and was given a four-year suspension. The 20km walk national record holder appealed the sentence, allowing h

Ngwenya steps down as KZNA Athletes' Commission chair

Martin Ngwenya has decided to step down from the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics board. The Mr. Price Sport Maxed Elite Running Manager took the top position on the Athletes' Commission during the KZNA Elections in April to earn a seat on the board alongside the federation's new president Steve Mkasi. But the man who is responsible for looking after all the top runners in the Maxed Elite Running Club says he has too much on his plate which has forced him to step aside. "To be honest

Teachers play a big role in producing Olympians - Geraldine Pillay-Viret

With just 5 women making the final Olympic athletics team, the debate about the lack of top female performers has once again erupted in athletics circles. Athletics South Africa will be represented by 34 athletes in total at #Tokyo2021, only five of whom are women. As the first South African woman to win a medal in the sprints at a global sporting event, Geraldine Pillay believes it is not the lack talent but the lack of support on the difficult road from future champion to t

Van Deventer concerned about lack of 1500m athletes in SA Olympic team

Olympian Juan Van Deventer is surprised not to see any South African 1 500m athletes named into the Tokyo Olympics squad. In the final squad announced by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee( SASCOC) yesterday, not a single runner managed to hit the 3:35:00 qualifying time to be on a plane to Japan. Van DeVenter who became the first South African to reach a 1 500m Olympic final back in Beijing 2008 is concerned that not one man was able to qualify to r

Mundell overjoyed to be a 3-time Olympian & aiming for top 10 finish in Tokyo

South African walking star Marc Mundell is hoping to make his last mark in the country's colours at the upcoming rescheduled Olympic games in Japan. Mundell who has already represented the country on the biggest international stage, qualified for #Tokyo2021 based on his world ranking after narrowly missing out on automatic qualification. In March, Mundell produced a world class performance of 3:53:09 to set a new African and South African 50km race walk record at the World At

'I always tell people to never stop believing in their dreams' - Mashele

Precious Mashele produced a scintillating 5 000m run of 13:11.65 at the Kings Park Stadium last night to book his spot in Team SA's #Tokyo2021 team on the very last day of the qualification window. It was a dramatic evening in Durban which began when the floodlights stopped working, forcing some delays before organisers decided to move their cars trackside and turn on the headlights in order to illuminate the track. When the race eventually got underway with the floodlights b

'I'm going for gold' - Desmond Mokgobu

Tears welled up in Mahlodi Ranku's eyes when Desmond Mokgobu told her how running has changed his life. The man who has been included in Team SA's #Tokyo2021 team had been invited to Ranku's sports show on Alex FM last week to talk about his chances of upsetting the East Africans, Americans and Asians in the men's marathon on August 8. But before getting him to predict his finish, Ranku asked the Limpopo-born athlete to explain how running had changed his life. "I never share

 

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