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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Mashele and Mathanga to race 5000m Olympic qualifier in Durban on 28 May

Now that he has won his first SA 21km title, man of the moment Precious Mashele has his sights set on qualifying for the Olympic Games. The man who was crowned national champion in the 5 000m in April, is aiming to run even faster over twelve and a half laps of the track in order to book his seat on the plane to Japan.

Mashele and Mathanga during a meet at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium earlier this year. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"I think for now we are targeting a 5 000m race in Durban on the 28th of May. That's what my coach told me," said the man who has smashed three personal bests over five and ten thousand meters since the beginning of March. Explaining his dominant 2021 form, the Limpopo-born athlete gave credit to his coach Hendrick Ramaala for making sure he stayed fit during the those tough early days of the Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020.

"I'm very excited because we have been working since last year during lockdown. My coach and his wife gave me an exercise programme to follow indoors until we got government permission to start training outdoors. Then I started slowly until I regained my fitness," he said.

That strategy worked because Mashele ran his first sub 28 minute 10 000m clocking this year, while bettering his 5 000m personal best to 13:27.57 at the Endurcad Invitational Meet in Stellenbosch. Following close on his heels on that day in the Cape in late March was national 10 000m champion Mbuleli Mathanga who came home in a superb 13:29.66. Both men will be attacking the Olympic qualifying standard of 13:13.50 when they reunite at a venue which saw them go faster than they ever had before over 25 laps of the track.

Mashele's training partner Maxime Chaumeton (back) will pace for Mashele and Mathanga. Photo Credit: MWMedia.

Mashele The Machine is looking forward to working with Mathanga at the Kings Park stadium during the Newton Classic Shootout on the 28th of May, revealing that his training partner and newly crowned USSA (University Sports South Africa) 5000m champion Maxime Chaumeton will pace them through the 3km mark. "My coach Hendrick Ramaala and coach Mdu Khumalo (Mathanga's coach) organised that race for us to qualify. I think I'm ready. That one is possible. I'm sure. I will qualify," he said.

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