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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mathanga expected to shine as KZNA gears up for first track & field meeting at Kings Park tomorrow

KwaZulu-Natal Athletics( KZNA) is preparing to host its first Track and Field meeting this year at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium tomorrow. KZNA Task Team member Steve Mkasi is excited about the resumption of the season after Athletics South Africa (ASA) decided to halt all events last month because of the second wave of Covid19.

"We are busy preparing to host track and field and field program," elaborates Masi. "We will have all the events from throwing, 100m and then the program will close with the 10 000m event. Remember after the Covid19 lockdown in March, track and field was cleared in September and we have been hosting events since. But we were forced to cancel in December and January due to the second wave," said Masi

Mathanga in action in Durban last Friday where he clocked 28:51 for 25 laps of the track. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

One of the athletes expected to take part tomorrow is Mbuleli Mathanga of Phantane Athletics Club who is likely to race the 10 000m. Last week, athletes were left in disappointed after the regional federation cancelled a track meet despite ASA having given the go ahead for the season to resume. It lead to an act of defiance from athletes who organised an impromptu meet of their own where Mathanga produced a dominant 28:51 solo run in the 10 000m.

Although the 27-year-old athlete is still wounded by last week's cancellation, he says he can't dwell too much on that. "I was disappointed seeing that event being cancelled but I was happy that as a club we managed to stage our own event instead. I can't focus too much on that but I'm happy that there are a lot of events coming," he explained.

Mkasi speaking at the launch of the KZN Capital City Marathon in September 2019. He says they are ready for the 2021 track and field season. Photo Credit: KZN Capital City Marathon.

Mkasi has revealed that the decision to call off last Friday's meet was not taken by the federation's management alone but by athletics commission who felt there was insufficient time to prepare for that event. "It wasn't our decision to cancel the event," he laments. "We received a report from the athletics commission and they felt we not ready to host the event. It was purely their decision. They believed we had little time to prepare. But athletes will continue to compete as we now have events every week. So there is no rush."

Mathanga, who holds a 28:37 personal best over 10 000m believes these events will allow him to edge closer to his goal of qualifying for Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. But he has to clock 27:28 to be on that plane to Asia. "My focus now is to dip under 28 minutes which have been my focus since last year. I'm happy seeing these events coming back," explains the athlete who is coached by Mdu Khumalo.

Mathanga and his Phantane Athletics Club members have been training throughout the lockdown under the watchful eye of coach Mdu Khumalo. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"I still want to go to the Olympics Games this year. I aim to compete in 10 000m event but I also aim for 5 000m too. And with competitions returning that will bring me closer to realising my dream to go to the Olympics. My level of fitness is okay as we have been training non-stop and I can't wait for the race," said an excited Mathanga.

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