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  • Thathe Msimango

Mathanga aiming for sub 28-minute clocking at CAA Champs tomorrow

KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) Golden boy Mbuleli Mathanga is targeting a new personal best when he competes in the Confederation of African Athletics( CAA) Championship in Mauritius. Mbuleli who will don national colours for the first time in his career, will take part in the 10 000m alongside Elroy Gelant tomorrow. The reigning SA 10 000m Champion has been in Mauritius since Saturday to acclimatize to the weather conditions and is confident that the race will go according to plan. "I think the preparations have gone quite well and I can't wait to run tomorrow. The weather conditions here are cool which are perfect for us as the runners," said Mathanga, who runs for Phantane Athletics Club.

Mathanga pictured at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in April where he defeated Elroy Gelant to defend his 10 000m title and gain selection to the national team for the 22nd annual CAA Championships in Mauritius. Photo Credit: Mbuleli Mathanga.

"I think I have done all that an athlete is supposed to do to prepare for the race. This is going to be the first time I'm representing the country so I aim to make it count. Before I came close only to be robbed by Covid19 as many events got canceled. I think this is a good time as I have grown much as an athlete in the past few years. This is one of the top achievements in my career," said the man who had been selected to represent SA at the 2020 African Champs only for the competition to be cancelled in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. The 28-year-old athlete who is coached by Mdu Khumalo is aiming for his first sub 28-minute clocking come race day. He has a personal best of 28:03:45 over the 25 laps distance which he achieved at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium last year.

Mathanga winning the 2021 SA Senior men's 10km cross country title in Amanzimtoti. Photo Credit: Mdu Khumalo.

"Our target with my coach is to run 27 minutes and I think it's possible with the way I have trained. I planned to go run SA Half Marathon Championship but my coach said I must not participate in that race. I took his advice because we have got a good understanding. My mission is to set a new personal best which will be a major boost and help me to get race invitations and attract more sponsors. People need to associate with someone who is doing well. That's why I must leave a good mark on race day. If a podium can be achieved, it would a bonus," he said.

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