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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

ASA seek SASCOC & govt endorsement to host World Half Marathon Championships in Nelson Mandela Bay

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Athletics South Africa (ASA) President James Moloi is confident that they will get the necessary support from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as well as the ministry of sport in order to submit a strong bid to host the 2025 World Half Marathon Championships in Gqeberha. Not since the World Cross Country Championships took place in Stellenbosch in 1995, has the country hosted a global senior World Athletics event and Moloi says it's time the world comes to South Africa again.

"That's correct. It's true that we are drawing up the paperwork now. In the first place, we have to approach SASCOC and then immediately after SASCOC once we are finished with the paperwork then we are going to approach the government. Then after government we are going to approach other federations such as the regional and local sports confederations because we are planning to host that one in Gqeberha," he told #TheTopRunner.

ASA President James Moloi is confident that South Africa will be granted the right to host the 2025 World Half Marathon Championships. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

The decision to bid for the right to host fastest 21km athletes in the world, stems from the success of the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon which has doubled as the ASA Senior Half Marathon Championships. The event which is organised by Eastern Province Athletics (EPA) led by Race Director Mike Mbambani with the support of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, has delivered fast times including at least six national records and the fastest ever half marathons run by South Africans on home soil. Mbambani says they support ASA's bid.

"We will allow that process to unfold," said Mbambani who explained that his team must take credit for the continued success of the event which produced which will celebrate its ten year anniversary in 2024. "We have a very strong LOC behind the scenes, it is always good to do things by the book. This makes my life easy as Race Director."

Race Director Michael Mbambani ( flanked by MC Alec Riddle) speaking during the prize giving at the 2022 NMB Half Marathon. Photo Credit: Richard Pearce Photography.

World Athletics, whose decision it will be to evaluate South Africa's bid to host the event have already been impressed by the standards of the NMB Half Marathon which already enjoys a coveted World Athletics Elite Label Status. In 2022 World Athletics Road Running Manager Alessio Punzi visited the Eastern Cape and watched the race from the lead car, giving it the thumbs up. "Part of my job is making sure the regulations set out are respected so I also have a bit of an obligation to check the race course to see that things are done in the right way. It was very well organised and the performances of the athletes were up there."

This is what makes Moloi confident adding that after years of difficulties ASA is now strong enough to host a major global athletics event. "We are ready to stage events. As you have seen, the guys are running fast. But also, we are healthy now and stable as a federation. So it's high time that we stage one of these events because we normally have to go outside the country to compete. We've got the capability to stage the World Championships, so now is our chance to stage this event. It's long overdue. I'm positive," he said.

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