Kabelo Seboko announces return from injury with win at CGA Champs 5000m
For one as talented as he, the last two years have been difficult to endure for Kabelo Seboko. While his training partner Precious Mashele and Durban-based Mbuleli Mthanga stole the headlines with their energizing performances in 2021, the 24-year old has been forced to watch from sidelines as he battled one injury after the other. But the man from Alexandra township is getting back to his best and announced his return by winning the Central Gauteng Athletics 5000m title this weekend.
"I'm very happy that I won the CGA Champs. It's brought back my confidence going into the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Cape Town," he told #TheTopRunner following his narrow victory over Mashele. Seboko outsprinted his Boxer Athletic Club teammate at the Germiston Stadium on Saturday to take the tape in 14:18.55, which was less than a second (14:19.45) ahead of the reigning national 5000m champion.
It was a victory for the soul of a man whose injury-riddled 2021 caused him to question his abilities and whether he should even be a top runner at all. That's because after returning from an injury in late January, Seboko started showed decent form when he ran a new personal best of 14:05.43 over twelve and a half laps of the track in April. But as Mashele departed for the Olympic Games in July, the man who represented South Africa at the World Cross Country championships in Denmark in 2019 was injured again leaving him with a lengthy 12-week recovery.
"To be honest, last year's injury weighed heavily on my mind because it came when I was in good shape. I had just won three out of three CGA Cross Country races and was planning on winning a medal at the SA Cross Country Championships. So it was tough. But I stayed positive and told myself that nothing lasts forever. I have to thank my coach Hendrik Ramaala and my teammates because they encouraged me not to give up because it would soon be over," he shared.
But perhaps that setback was just what Seboko needed to set him on a new path. Having been discovered by Richard Mayer as a 14 year old at the Bheki Langa track in Alex, Seboko was developed based on Mayer's belief in the legendary Arthur Lydiard's coaching principles of easy, long aerobic running being the foundation of all elite performers. He did most of his running on his own then but longed for some group training. After parting ways with Mayer about two years ago he joined the Zoo Lake Group, but found after reflecting on his injury that he needed to vary his sessions doing some with the group and others alone in Alex.
"I changed my programme a little bit because I have been struggling with injury over the past two years. So far the change is working. My body is responding according to the way I know it can work and my mind is also focussed now. I'd be happy if I could remain injury free for the whole season. I'm looking forward to the SA's," he concluded. The ASA Senior Track & Field Championships take place at the Greenpoint Stadium from 21 - 23 April, where Seboko is expected to compete in the 5000m event.