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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I planned for top two' - Seoposengwe celebrates first senior national title after winning SA 5km

Rising South African middle distance star Nicholas Seopesengwe showed put in a dominant performance to clinch the inaugural ASA 5km Championship in the time of 14:18 on Saturday morning outside the iconic FNB Stadium. Seopesengwe's training partner Maxime Chaumeton followed him home in a close second in 14:23, while Lesothos's Namakoe Nkhasi was third making Chris Mhlanga in fourth place the third runner home at the national championships as cEntral Gauteng Athletics swept the top three in the senior men's race.

This event took place in order to select athletes that will represent the country at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in the Latvian Capital of Riga in September. Speaking to the members of media after his victory, Seopesengwe who trains at Zoo Lake under watchful eye of former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala, said the race went according to his plans and he is excited to get an opportunity to represent the country.

"The weather conditions was pretty much fine and great for running," he said on what started as an icy highveld winter's morning but warmed up by the time the four races started at 8am. "I didn't struggle with the course at all because it was similar to the one we use at Zoo Lake. We just ran together with Maxi( Chaumeton) till he felt tired in the last 2.5km then I told myself let's me move away from him. But overall, I know he is a tough competitor," said Seopesengwe, who rose to prominence after winning last year's Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K.

Seoposengwe celebrates victory as Chaumeton finishes in a second place. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

"I planned top two so it was either me or Maxime and I were going to exchange numbers. But the biggest plan was the top two in order to secure my position into the World Champs there in Latvia in September. So I knew if I get that then surely I will have a spot into the squad," said the man who turns 22 later this month.

His plans now is to become the third South African athlete to dip under 28 minutes on home soil and believes the tough competition in Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K scheduled for July 9 will afford him that opportunity.

" I'll keep my program. As you know, I'm a 10km specialist so this 5km was more of a speed run to me. So I'll preparing myself for some upcoming 10km races. I'm running in Durban at the Absa 10k next and I'm aiming for the sub 28 minutes there. Plus there are going to have East Africans in that race which will push us to the limit. It an advantage to us," he concluded.

Kavanagh and Seoposengwe, both trainined by Hendrik Ramaala at Zoo Lake pose with their gold medals. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

In the women's race KwaZulu-Natla Athletics top runner Tayla Kavanagh announced her return to form by securing her second road running national title winning in a time of 16:45 as Kayla Jacobs took second (16:59) and third spot for Western Province Athletics went to Athletics Gauteng North's Nicola Jansen (17:24).

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