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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

‘I still don't believe that I'm the champion‘ - Tete Dijana to build a house with Comrades winnings

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Tete Morena Dijana produced a composed run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg of 05:30:38 yesterday to become the first Comrades Marathon since 2019. Morena’s training partner and defending champion Edward Mothibi came second (5:33:46) while Neo Dan Moselakwe (5:36:25) took third to make it a Nedbank Running Club clean sweep on the podium. The world's largest and oldest ultra-marathon was making a return after being canceled twice due to Covid19 pandemic that did cause havoc in sports worldwide.

The annual 90km pilgrimage attracted over 14 000 participants from across the globe, but it was the man who lives and trains in Rustenburg that crossed the finish line at the Moses Mabhida Stadium first. Speaking to a room full of journalists, Dijana, who hails from Mahikeng in the North West province couldn't contain his excitement about his maiden Comrades victory.

" I still don't believe that I'm the Comrades champion. The feeling hasn't sunk into my mind yet. I kept looking back to be certain that no one is following me. Anything can happen during the race so you to avoid mistakes you must be certain. I tried to maintain my own pace throughout the race. I only started to believe that I will win the race when I crossed the finish line.“ said the 34-year-old athlete, who works as a security officer at the University of North West.

Dijana who is the father of two children is planning to use his winnings to get a home for his family. The diminutive top runner will pocket R260 000 from race organizers, R100 000 as a bonus from the National Department of Sports as the first South African to cross the line, R100 000 from his employer Mi7 National Group, R100 000 from the North West Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation and R250 000 incentive bonus from his club Nedbank to make it a total of R810 000.

"I'll build my house. I have been staying at home for too long now. I hope this victory will change my life for good. Maybe I shall get an advisor to instruct me on how I shall use my money,” he said.

In the women's race, Russia’s Alexander Morozova who had to get approach the courts in order to be allowed to run, lived to her pre-race favourite tag crossing the line first (6:17:48) with Dominika Stelmach (6:25:08) and Adele Brookryk (6:26:35) second and third respectively.

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