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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mathanga sets sights on 5000m after winning 10 000m SA title

KwaZulu-Natal golden boy Mbuleli Mathanga successfully defended his national 10 000m title on the first day of Athletics South Africa( ASA) Senior Track & Field Championships at the Green Point Stadium yesterday. Mathanga who won the same race at the nationall champs in Pretoria last year, managed to outclass a quality field including SA 500m record holder Elroy Gelant and former SA 5000m champion Gladwin Mzazi.

The 28-year-old ran a sensational time of 28:22 on his way to victory over Gelant who was second, with Milton Kekana in third. Speaking to media in the Mother City, Mathanga who took the fourth position in the Two Oceans Half-Marathon last weekend credited the victory to his coach Mdu Khumalo.

Mathanga on his way to winning a second consecutive SA 10 000m title at the Greenpoint Athletics Stadium. Photo Credit: Mdu Khumalo.

"The time I came position four in the Two Oceans last week I was a bit disappointed but my coach sat down with me to encourage me. He even said I must accept not every day is your day. Then he said I must come again here to defend my title" explained the man who holds a 60:17 personal best over 21km distance.

After his exploits over 25 laps of the track, the Phantane Athletic Club top runner is expected to take on Precious Mashele in tomorrow's 5 000m event. The duo spent most of the last year competing against each other over similar distances in which Mashele managed to book a ticket to Tokyo Olympics on the very last day of qualifying at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium in Durban.

Mashele and Mathanga running together at the Kings Park Stadium in 2021 where they set the track alight with some electrifying performances over 5000m. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"I believe this is my year now. I have looked up to Mashele on how he does things as an athlete who has been running for a long time. I'm learning a lot from him. I don't want to say I'll win the 5000m event but I will approach the race with the same strategy I did with the 10 000m. If athletes don't want to take the lead then will do that," he concluded.

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